Hyderabad: Private hospitals have been warned that if they continue to over-charge patients, action will be taken against them by the state government. All rates must be displayed on the notice board near the billing desk.
The government in a notification stated that maximum fixed rates for treating Covid-19 patients has been clearly chalked out but still there are innumerable complaints that patients are being over-charged.
The ceiling prices for intensive care unit and Covid-19 treatment have been fixed and patients have to be charged accordingly, said government officials.
Patient bills are running into lakhs of rupees and there are innumerable complaints against the private hospitals which are showing no humanitarian concern and using the epidemic as a way to loot people and make money.
The price of high-end drugs and personal protection kits are excluded from the package rates and they have to be charged at a maximum retail price only, stated by the government.
While discharging patients, itemised bills must be provided and if that is not done, it will be taken as an offence. The government has warned private hospitals of action if the rules are not followed.
Private hospitals, on the other hand, claim that they are following government guidelines but every complaint on social media is leading to a notice without even getting into the details of the case.
Every private hospital has received at least four notices from district medical and health officers asking them to explain the reasons for charging patients exorbitant amounts for treatment.
A chief executive officer of a corporate hospital explained, “The government is not checking their own rules for insurance vs. cash-paying patients. They are sending a notice based on whoever complains to them without verifying the details. For this reason, we have got a medico-legal lawyer to look into these complaints.”
In some corporate hospitals, the billing staff is directly asking patients' relatives if they have the money to pay for bills or being advised to go to a government hospital. In case of insurance, the rules and regulations are explained twice on video so that it can be produced as evidence in case the patient’s relatives complain later.
Medicover hospitals executive director and member of the Telangana super speciality hospitals association said, "During the pandemic, it has been a tight rope walk for hospitals. We are trying to comply with the government orders as much as we can but there are some patients who require multiple tests in a week, CT scans and high-end drugs. This leads to escalation of costs. As far as display of rates is concerned, it is a very difficult situation as those in general and intensive care units will have different rates."...