BBMP keeps eye on hospitals


Deputy Commissioner asks hospitals to refund Rs 79 lakh to patients who were overcharged, says strict action will be taken against malpractice

Many hospitals are caught flouting rules and overcharging patients under various phoney pretexts as the state deals with the second wave. The Deputy Commissioner of BBMP is looking into all covid related issues and warns hospitals that stringent action will be taken against those caught malpracticing. He also announced refunds of Rs 79 lakh for patients who had filed a complaint against such hospitals.

Manjunath, Urban DC, BBMP, told Bangalore Mirror that he has been following up with hospitals regularly and is conducting meetings with them, warning them not to flout rules and asking them to initiate refunds to those who were overcharged. He said that he had issued notices to several private hospitals earlier, asking them to share the bills of overcharged patients and if a hospital failed to produce receipts, it would be booked under the Disaster management Act, along with applicable IPC sections.

“The first set of hospitals responded to us and have refunded the money back to the eligible patients. In the second set of complaints, which we received through KPME, we received 44 cases and all of them were closely looked at and we directed the concerned hospitals to refund the money immediately,” said Manjunath.

In one case, a 67-year-old woman was admitted in a private hospital for 203 days and was asked to pay a bill of Rs 50 lakh which she could not afford, the DC said. “The family was able to pay Rs 9 lakh through insurance and cash. We intervened and asked the hospital to wave off Rs 41 lakh,” he said.

In another case, a patient was charged Rs 3.5 lakh as additional charges in the garb of various false pretexts, he said. “After verifying the bills, we found that the hospital had not followed government capping guidelines. We issued a notice to them and then they refunded the money,” Manjunath said.

He also said that other than the 44 complaints, his department had received 15 complaints from SAST and nine complaints through vigilance teams related to covid issues. These cases were resolved and the refunds were received where they were due, be said.

A senior official said, “We received cases of SAST patients who were charged unnecessarily. Hospitals have overcharged patients in the name of beds, oxygen and various scans. We looked at every detail. We warned the hospitals to not repeat this behaviour. Our vigilance teams will be carrying out surprise checks too. If we find an institution violating rules or see irregularities we will take action against them.”

Earlier Bangalore Mirror had reported about several private hospitals receiving notices from the health department for overcharging patients. During the second wave, several hospitals charged direct admission patients with an excess amount and in some cases, SAST and BPL card holders were asked to pay a hefty amount for covid treatment and scans.

How and where to report overcharging

Manjunath said that many families were unhappy with the treatment and communication regarding the patient’s status in Intensive Care Units. “Many people have complained to us regarding their dissatisfaction with hospitals and we have directed the hospitals to install CCTV cameras and update families of patients regularly. Anyone who wishes to report instances of overcharging against hospitals can visit the DC’s office and submit their complaint. We’ll look into it and make sure that the money is refunded where it is due,” he said.

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