One of the patients was charged over Rs 50,000 above the government stipulated rates.

Several health personnel wearing PPE kitsRepresentational image/PTI
news COVID-19 Thursday, December 30, 2021 - 13:02

Manipal hospital, a popular hospital chain with several branches across Bengaluru, received a warning by health officials for allegedly overcharging COVID-19 patients who had been admitted in one of their branches. Additionally, health officials have instructed the hospital to refund the surplus charge collected by them from the patients.

The incident came to light when Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Yelahanka zone Health Officer Dr Bhagyalakshmi visited the Hebbal branch of Manipal hospital on Tuesday, December 28. She confirmed that the hospital had charged over and above the stipulated rates laid down by the government. 

According to a press release by the BBMP, the government-stipulated charges that hospitals are allowed to charge patients per day are – Rs 10,000 for a general ward, Rs 12,000 for a High Dependency Unit (HDU), Rs 15,000 for isolation ICU without ventilator and Rs 25,000 for isolation ICU with ventilator.

Speaking to TNM, Dr Bhagyalakshmi revealed that there were three cases where the hospital had overcharged patients who had been admitted to general wards. One of the patients, who had been admitted for nine days, was supposed to be charged Rs 90,000. However, he was charged a staggering Rs 1,40,816 (over 1.4 lakh). Another patient, who had been admitted for a week, was charged Rs 72,788 instead of Rs 70,000. One more patient, who had been in a general ward for seven days, had to be charged Rs 70,000. However, she had been charged Rs 71,967. The hospital has been asked to refund the excess amount collected back to all the three patients.

According to the BBMP press release, action will be initiated against any hospitals charging over the government’s stipulated charges under relevant sections of the Karnataka Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Act, Registration of Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Act, 2017 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.

However, in this case, Bhagyalakshmi told TNM that such an action has not been initiated and the hospital has been let off with a warning. She also stated that if such a violation is found again, the aforementioned action will be initiated. TNM has reached out to the Hebbal branch of Manipal hospital and a response is awaited. This story will be updated once Manipal hospital provides a response.

The BBMP also said that in case of any violations, the public can directly contact the office of Chief Health Officer (Public Health) at 080-22975516 or on the helpline number 080-22660000. A WhatsApp number 9480685700 was also set up as a helpline.

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