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Fortis told to refund Rs 2 lakh it ‘overcharged’ Kolkata patient

The hospital had been warned on four occasions earlier for violating the commission’s advisories

Subhajoy Roy | Published 08.02.22, 08:35 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

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The clinical establishment commission on Monday asked Fortis Hospital to return Rs 2 lakh to a patient who the panel said was overcharged for medicines, pathological tests and consumables.

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission also imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the hospital for violating its advisory on billing patients for medicines, investigations and consumables, which include gloves, masks and personal protective equipment.

The hospital had been warned on four occasions earlier, following complaints from patients’ families, for violating the commission’s advisories, said retired judge Ashim Banerjee, chairperson of the panel.

The patient referred to in Monday’s order is a 52-year-old woman, who was admitted to the hospital with Covid and billed Rs 23.64 lakh for her 29-day stay there.

“While examining the bill, we found the hospital had charged Rs 10 lakh for medicines, Rs 4.5 lakh for investigations or pathological tests and Rs 2 lakh for consumables,” Banerjee said. “The hospital had overcharged Rs 3.5 lakh.”

The hospital was asked to refund only Rs 2 lakh because the woman’s family had paid 60 per cent of the entire bill amount and the rest was paid by an insurance company.

“Since the woman’s family paid 60 per cent of the billed amount, we asked the hospital to refund roughly 60 per cent of Rs 3.5 lakh. We decided the hospital should refund Rs 2 lakh,” he said.

The woman, who was present during the hearing of the complaint, has comorbidities but the primary reason for hospitalisation was Covid.

An official of Fortis said: “Fortis Healthcare ensures that it follows the directives of the commission, in all circumstances. However, in this particular case, billing was done as per TPA norms. The commission has advised us to bring these cases, too, under the prescribed directive. We remain committed to follow the commission's advisory.”

The commission had in August 2020 issued advisories asking private hospitals to offer at least 10 per cent discount on medicines and 20 per cent discount on consumables.

The commission had also said that if hospitals were unable to offer the discount, they should allow a patient’s family to buy medicines and consumables from outside.

Last updated on 08.02.22, 08:35 AM
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