Thane hospital loses Covid unit status for overcharging
In a first, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has cancelled the registration of a hospital, Horizon Prime Hospital, for a month and its recognition as a Covid hospital for allegedly charging 56 Covid patients an additional ₹6 lakh. The civic body has stationed a team of two doctors at the hospital around-the-clock to ensure the admitted patients receive proper treatment. The hospital authorities termed the action “unfair”, saying a clarification has been sent to the civic body.
The hospital was recognised as a Covid facility on April 2. Last week, TMC chief Dr Vipin Sharma set up an audit committee to check the bills imposed by private hospitals on Covid patients. The committee found 196 patients across the city were overcharged and have sent notices to 15 private Covid hospitals.
Sandeep Malvi, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “We had received complaints from several patients that this hospital overcharged them. Accordingly, our audit committee set up to look into the bills generated by all Covid Hospitals in the city checked the bills imposed by the hospital. A total of 797 patients were treated at this hospital until July 12. Of the 57 bills submitted by the hospital for the audit, 56 were found to be exorbitant. An excess of ₹6,08,900 was charged in these 56 bills.”
The committee issued a notice to the hospital on July 20 to give a clarification in two days. Malvi said, “The hospital did not send any clarification, which suggests they have cheated the patients.”
Dr Raju Murudkar, medical health officer of TMC, said: “The hospital has proved to be inefficient to give medical treatment to common Thane residents. It will be no longer recognised as a Covid hospital and we have cancelled their registration for one month.”
The hospital has been given a period of 30 days to appeal against the directives before the Thane civic commissioner.
Dr Hrishikesh Vaidya, medical director of Horizon Prime Hospital, said, “We have given the clarification on the reason for excessive bills to TMC on Friday, a day before they issued these directives, so it is possible they haven’t read the explanation. We will meet the officials and resolve the issue.”
He added the charges on all patients were imposed as per the government rule. Vaidya said, “We have given discounts to 50 patients under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Scheme and to over 50 cops under the police schemes. There are many patients who are critical and need extra care for which additional charges might have been imposed and we have clarified that. Moreover, there are sanitisation charges, as the rate of biowaste management has increased three times. We are not a charitable hospital and need money to manage expenses.”
He said the hospital was the first private Covid hospital in Thane and had treated over 1,000 patients successfully.