Fortis dengue death an ‘eye opener’: Haryana govt panel says reduce profit margins at hospitals
The panel, which described the case of Adya Singh an “eye opener”, said profit margins on drugs and consumables used ranged from 5% to as high as 1737%.gurgaon Updated: Jan 19, 2018 07:51 IST
A Haryana government panel probing the death of a 7-year-old girl from dengue related complications at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in September has recommended reducing profit margins at corporate hospitals and action against the doctors who handled the case.
The panel, which described the case of Adya Singh an “eye opener”, said profit margins on drugs and consumables used ranged from 5% to as high as 1737%. The margin was 108% on the total hospital bill of Rs1.5 million. The bill could have come down to one-third of the amount charged if a comprehensive package had been offered by the hospital, the panel said. Even the blood and blood components used were “overcharged”, the report submitted by the state government to the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed.
The panel also recommended asking insurance regulatory authorities to examine the terms at which medical cover is provided to patients.
The panel said it recognised the services rendered by hospitals but “still feels the need to check profit margins on drugs, consumables, procedures and range of services being given by them (corporate hospitals).”
“It is a monumental task but has to be done now. Health cannot be kept at the same pedestal or be equated with other businesses. This case is an eye opener but this is not the only case,” the panel said.
The panel said that there is a need for regulatory authorities at the national level to fix an upper limit on the cost of various medical procedures and investigations and create protocols to ensure that the patients pay a “judicious fair price” to the institutions.
The committee also recommended the case be sent to the Medical Council of India for action against the treating doctors. “…By taking off oxygen and other life-saving supporting treatments, the doctors have not kept the patient on same treatment line. This is lapse/negligence/unethical conduct also,” the report said.
The girl was referred to FMRI on August 31. She was put on ventilator the next day and remained under intensive care for 15 days. She died on September 14 and the parents demanded a probe into the treatment and billing.
The hospital said it was yet to receive a complete copy of the report.
“Despite several requests we have not got a copy of the report till now. There is a separate PIL filed in court that we aren’t a party to, so we can’t officially comment on it,” the hospital said.
The hospital said it did not charge any drug or consumables above the printed MRP. It also said it wasn’t correct to say that Fortis doctors switched off the ventilator and stopped life-saving medicines after reporting ‘leaving against medical advice’.