Noida man dies of Covid-19, family gets Rs 14 lakh bill
Amid lack of clarity regarding the rates that Noida’s private hospitals may charge for the Covid-19 treatment, a private hospital has given a bill of over Rs14 lakh to the kin of a Covid victim who was admitted at the facility for 20 days. The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration has said that it will look into the matter.
The patient, a Noida resident and a Unani practitioner who died on Sunday, was admitted at Fortis Hospital, Noida, on June 7 and was kept on ventilator for 15 days, hospital authorities and close relatives of the victim said.
The family took possession of the body on Monday against a legal declaration on a Rs10 stamp paper to pay the negotiated amount, one of the relatives said.
The hospital gave a bill of over Rs14 lakh to the grieving family, which was later revised to Rs10.2 lakh after the insurance covered Rs4 lakh while the family paid Rs25,000, as per hospital authorities.
However, the Fortis Hospital, in a statement sent to HT, said that the charges were transparent, discounted and “based on the CGHS (central government health scheme) tariffs as per the MoU with the government”.
“The family of the patient was informed about the treatment details at every step and was also counselled about the criticality of the patient…The details have been submitted to the CMO office as well. Our transparent billing process ensured that the family of the patient was kept informed about the expenses incurred during the treatment. There is no discrepancy in the billing process in this case,” said the statement from the hospital.
Meanwhile, the district administration said that the private hospital fee is based on “self-regulation”. “We are looking into the matter. But the media reports about the charges levied by the private hospital for the Covid-19 patient seem unverified. The health team has been asked to look into the matter,” said Suhas LY, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar.
Asked if the district administration has imposed a cap or upper limit on the charges levied by private hospitals to treat a Covid-19 patient, the DM said that charges are based on the ‘self-regulations’ and different guidelines, including those of the central government.
“The private hospitals are charging based on the self-regulation and the guidelines given by the health department that had been communicated to them. There are various government advisories on the maximum or upper limit of charges. For ICU, the maximum amount which can be charged is Rs10,000 while for the ventilator it’s Rs5,000 extra per day. The other charges like medicines, etc, are not included,” the district magistrate added.
However, despite several requests to share the official document that verifies the district administration’s claims on capping of charges for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals, the administration officials stated they will share it soon.
According to senior state health department officials, the decision on capping of prices in private hospitals has to be taken by the district administration concerned.
“It’s the local administration of every district that would take a call and fix an upper limit on the charges that a private hospital can take for Covid-19 treatment. The state government has only fixed charges for the Covid-19 tests,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, health secretary, Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the deceased’s family stated that there was no clarity on the maximum hospital fee in UP, as declared by other states like Haryana and Delhi.
“There is no clarity on Covid-19 charges here. No order has been issued in this regard by the state government. We are still in talks with the hospital. We have lost a family member, and then are being asked to pay such unreasonable fee. We wish no one else has to suffer in future,” said a close relative of the Covid-19 victim.
Recently, both Delhi and Haryana capped the prices for Covid treatment in private hospitals.
A Delhi government order dated June 20 prescribes maximum per day package rates for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals. According to the order, for isolation bed charges can’t exceed Rs10,000 while for severe sickness (ICU without ventilators) it’s Rs15,000 and for ICU with ventilator care the cost is Rs 18,000. All the cost includes the cost of PPE kits.
In Haryana, prices for private hospitals accredited by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Care Providers (NABH) are Rs 10,000 for isolation beds (including supportive care and oxygen), Rs 15,000 for intensive care unit (without ventilator care) and Rs 18,000 for intensive care unit with ventilator care.
For the non-NABH accredited private healthcare facilities, Rs 8,000 a day has been fixed for isolation beds (including supportive care and oxygen), Rs 13,000 a day for intensive care unit (without ventilator care) and Rs 15,000 a day for intensive care unit with ventilator care. The rates will include charges for all lab investigations, diet, radiological diagnostics, monitoring charges, drugs, consumables, including PPE, masks and gloves, among others.