Pulmonologist accuses Vadodara hospital of overcharging COVID patients to tune of Rs 20 crore
Vadodara: A case has been filed by Vadodara based pulmonologist against the management of Sterling Hospital in the Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), accusing the hospital of overcharging the patients to the tune of more than Rs 20 crore, thus violating the guidelines laid down by Vadodara Municipal Corporation which fixed a certain rate for Covid treatment.The doctor told the...
Vadodara: A case has been filed by Vadodara based pulmonologist against the management of Sterling Hospital in the Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), accusing the hospital of overcharging the patients to the tune of more than Rs 20 crore, thus violating the guidelines laid down by Vadodara Municipal Corporation which fixed a certain rate for Covid treatment.
The doctor told the media persons on Wednesday that Sterling Hospital, which was categorized as a Covid hospital levied an additional bill of over Rs 20 crore in the form of consultation charges towards the super-specialists, which was never paid to the actual doctors.
The doctor told The Indian Express, "I had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sterling hospital in 2018 as a full-time pulmonologist attached to the hospital. According to the MoU, the hospital was to pay me 100 percent of my charges towards indoor admissions and 80 percent of charges for surgical procedures… It was all going on as per the MoU until Covid-19 when Sterling hospital was declared as Covid-19 hospital."
Talking about the guidelines fixed by VMC for treating covid patients, she added, "As per guidelines of the VMC, the rate package for hospitals treating Covid patients had been decided for general ward, HDU, ICU, and ICU with ventilator categories… it was to include all charges, and exclude only charges of super specialist that were categorically defined as a cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, and nephrologist."
Informing that the hospital called the team of five specialist doctors in July 2020 to manage Covid-19 admissions, the doctor added, "They told me to see all patients every day. I told them I cannot see 200 patients in a day so I will bring in an assistant doctor. They asked me to pay my assistant doctor on my own, to which I agreed. But they were not even sharing the statement of accounts. In September, I asked them to share the statement. They told me they will give in March but it never happened."
She further said, "One patient came and told me they had charged money for the visit of a super-specialist pulmonologist… I was aghast as they had refused to pay me for the same because it was included in the package… Now, my assisting doctor and I consulted 2865 patients during that time. By the calculation, we have not been paid Rs 1.34 crores per month, which amounts to Rs 20 crore."
She eventually filed a case against the Vadodara Commissioner of Police seeking investigation against the hospital management. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Hospital, Anilkumar Nambiar, denied the allegations of the doctor, adding that the hospital has recorded statements with the police. He spoke to the Indian Express, "The allegations made by Dr. Dalal are false. She is not attached to the hospital for the past three months. The figures she is quoting are also wrong. We have adhered to the rate slabs declared by the VMC for all four categories of wards. But there were no regulations imposed on semi-special and special rooms."
Our Vadodara reports that she filed a notice with the hospital in July and then went to the police commissioner for an inquiry. She accused the hospital of charging for food and waste management, which were not given in the agreed plan.
BJP MLA Yogesh Patel had also made a public statement stating that private hospitals in Vadodara accumulated an exorbitant amount of around Rs 3000 crore during the period of Covid-19 as there were government curbs on charges. However, the statement also led to criticism from the Indian Medical Association members as well.
According to a media report in Our Vadodara, he expressed the necessity for a police investigation, adding that he would speak personally to the police commissioner to look into the issue. He also specifically talked about Sterling Hospital for overcharging patients outside of the VMSS-approved package.