Chandigarh private hospital fined ₹1.2 lakh for inflated bill - Hindustan Times

Chandigarh private hospital fined 1.2 lakh for inflated bill

By, Chandigarh
Jun 22, 2024 07:02 AM IST

The Mohali-based private hospital ₹1.2 lakh for serving him an inflated bill for Covid-19 treatment in 2021, leading to financial loss, harassment and mental agony

Coming to the aid of a 76-year-old Chandigarh resident, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has fined a Mohali-based private hospital 1.2 lakh for serving him an inflated bill for Covid-19 treatment in 2021, leading to financial loss, harassment and mental agony.

Elderly Mohali resident had received a bill of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>7.62 lakh. (iStockphoto)
Elderly Mohali resident had received a bill of 7.62 lakh. (iStockphoto)

The senior citizen, VK Agarwal, a resident of Sector 48, had submitted before the commission that he was admitted to Max Super Specialty Hospital, Phase 6, Mohali, for Covid-19 treatment on January 23, 2021, and discharged on February 12.

During discharge, he received a bill of 7.62 lakh, out of which he had to pay 1.11 lakh from his own pocket while the rest was charged to his insurance.

On perusing the bills, he discovered that he was charged for a dietician’s visit without any such visit and the amount was not paid by the insurer. He also noted that the dietician had advised him to consume milk at night, whereas being a patient of ulcerative colitis, it could have led to serious consequences.

Also, physiotherapist visits were charged twice a day for his stay in ICU, but no physiotherapy, as mentioned in the bill, was provided.

He said some breathing exercises were demonstrated by a physiotherapist on her first visit and thereafter she just asked him to keep doing the same exercise. He pleaded that charges for “physiotherapy of lungs and limbs” were also wrongly levied. Further, several types of extraneous charges for alfa bed, PPE kits, 100 micropore tapes and 230 surgical gloves were wrong.

Additionally, 6,620 towards CT contrast were wrongly charged, as the scan was never done.

In its reply, the hospital submitted that they raised the bill as per the hospital tariff, and as per the MoU between the insurance company and hospital.

They also submitted that they were not at fault as they had forwarded the bill to the insurance company that had approved 6,06,486 only as per the patient entitlement. They stated that it was between the insurance company and the complainant to seek any refund, if available.

They pleaded that the hospital bill and treatment record showed the visits and diet chart that was followed under the supervision of a professional dietician. They added that physiotherapy was done as per regular medical treatment of patient and there were no excessive charges for it.

The commission observed that the advice of the dietician to take milk at night to the patient/consumer, who was suffering from ulcerative colitis, was wrong advice that could lead to serious consequences on the health of the patient, which was a clear cut negligence on the part of the dietician acting upon for the hospital and amounted to deficiency in service. Further, the hospital failed to lead any cogent and convincing documentary evidence to justify the said charges billed from the complainant.

“Therefore, it is held that the hospital has illegally exaggerated the medical bill of the complainant by adding wrong charges for the services which were never provided to the complainant and this amounts to deficiency in service as well as adoption of unfair trade practice…” the commission observed, while penalising the hospital.

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