Manipal Hospital warned for overcharging COVID patients, told to refund excess amount
Bengaluru: Manipal hospital has been directed by the Karnataka health department to return the excess amount of money collected from three COVID patients as treatment charges on Thursday.The popular hospital chain with several branches across Bengaluru received warning for overcharging Covid patients who were admitted in one of their branches.Also Read: Hospitals refunded Rs 36 crore...
Bengaluru: Manipal hospital has been directed by the Karnataka health department to return the excess amount of money collected from three COVID patients as treatment charges on Thursday.
The popular hospital chain with several branches across Bengaluru received warning for overcharging Covid patients who were admitted in one of their branches.
Following direction of BBMP Special Commissioner (Health), a team of officials visited the hospital and found that it has been charging in excess of the prescribed amount by the government.
It was the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Yelahanka zone Health Officer Dr Bhagyalakshmi who visited the Hebbal branch of Manipal hospital on December 28, following which the incident came to light.
The officer stated that the hospital had charged an amount which was over and above the stipulated rates laid down by the government, reports The News Minute.
As per the government laws, Rs 10000 has been fixed for general ward per day, Rs 12,000 for High Dependency Unit (HDU), isolation ICU without ventilator would cost Rs 15,000 and isolation ICU with ventilator would cost Rs 25,000. The hospital however, had taken an excess amount of Rs 1,40,816 from a patient who was admitted for nine days instead of Rs 90,000, Rs 72,788 instead of Rs 70,000 from another patient who was there for a week and Rs 71,967 instead of Rs 70,000 from the third patient who was admitted for seven days. All three patients were admitted to the general ward of the hospital.
According to a media report in the New Indian Express, the BBMP press note read, "It is against the law to demand higher than government-stipulated charges. Hospitals have also acknowledged this. Hospitals need to keep Covid-19 patients informed about the government stipulated charges."
The release further added that action would be taken against the hospitals charging an excess amount over the government's stipulated charges under relevant sections of the Karnataka Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Act, Registration of Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, 2017 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.
However, the health officer stated that no such action has been taken against the hospital this time and they have been let off with a warning. She added that the required action would be taken only if the violation takes place again.
The management of the hospital has been directed to not to charge an excess amount than what is fixed by the government since it would be illegal. Additionally, the families of the patients who got Covid were informed about the fixed rate decided by the government and were directed to contact the authorities if they are charged in excess.
IANS reports that the health officers and health inspectors were directed by Dr Trilokchandra, Special Commissioner for Health to immediately attend to complaints where hospitals charge excessively. Further, he ordered them to personally visit hospitals under the BBMP jurisdiction.
According to sources, the Yelahanka Zone health officer paid a personal visit to the Manipal hospital and provided directions in this connection.
The BBMP said that the public can directly get in touch with the office of Chief Health Officer (Public Health) at 080-22975516 or on the helpline number 080-22660000 if they see any cases of violation. A WhatsApp number 9480685700 was also set up as a helpline for the purpose.