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State panel orders private Kolkata hospitals to refund patients

Advisories on discounts on medicines and consumables and rates for pathological tests were not followed

Subhajoy Roy | Published 23.11.21, 07:47 AM
Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals.

Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals.

File photo

Several private hospitals in the city were on Monday asked to refund various amounts to patients or their families as they did not comply with advisories by the state clinical establishment regulatory commission.

Advisories on discounts on medicines and consumables  and rates for pathological tests were not followed.

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Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals was asked to return Rs 63,211 to the family of a patient who was admitted at the hospital in September. The hospital had earlier provided a  Rs 54,584 discount.

Retired judge Ashim Banerjee, the chairperson of the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission, on Monday said Apollo had “agreed they had billed  Rs 63,211 in addition to the discount already given earlier”.

The spokesperson of Apollo was unavailable for comment.

Fortis Hospital was asked to prepare a fresh bill after including all discounts advised by the commission over time. The hospital had billed Rs 7.08 lakh for treating a 65-year-old man. “Fortis did not offer a discount on consumables and medicines. Besides, their investigation charges were also high,” said Banerjee. “We have asked the hospital to prepare a fresh bill....”

Officials of Fortis Hospital were unavailable for comment.

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 and on July 3 this year it fixed a limit on the rates for a number of pathological and radiological tests.

During Monday’s hearing, AMRI Hospital, Mukundapur, was found conducting ‘unnecessary tests’ on a 32-year-old woman, who was admitted in October with dengue.

Banerjee said the hospital charged the woman Rs 45,103 for the investigations while the TPA (third-party administrator) sanctioned Rs 31,783. “The TPA did not sanction the balance amount as the tests conducted were in addition to the circular for such tests issued by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme,” said Banerjee. 

Rupak Barua, the group CEO of AMRI Hospitals, said AMRI “strongly objects to the decision of the commission”. “Some tests have to be conducted to ascertain the condition of a patient. The tests we did were absolutely justified. The order of the commission seems unreasonable,” he said.

Woodlands Hospital was asked to return Rs 30,030 to the family of a 57-year-old man who was admitted in October. “The hospital did not offer a discount on consumables. Our advisory was not followed in pathological tests,” said Banerjee.

An official of Woodlands could not be reached for comment.

Swasthya Sathi

The commission heard three complaints against private hospitals which had refused to admit patients under Swasthya Sathi scheme.

Last updated on 23.11.21, 07:47 AM
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