‘Can’t take more than Rs 50k as deposit from Covid-19 patients: Bengal govt tells pvt hospitals
In another advisory issued on Saturday evening the commission has also said that sanction from patients’ families have to be taken for pathological tests if these cost more than Rs 2000 and necessity of the tests have to be explained to the families in advance.Updated: Aug 09, 2020 23:08 IST
Flooded by complaints of exorbitant rates being charged from Covid-19 patients by private hospitals, the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has stated in an advisory that no hospital can charge more than Rs 50,000 as advance deposit during admission and patients’ families have to be given 12 hours to get the money. If a family cannot provide the money then it can take the patient to another hospital, the commission has said.
In another advisory issued on Saturday evening the commission has also said that sanction from patients’ families have to be taken for pathological tests if these cost more than Rs 2000 and necessity of the tests have to be explained to the families in advance. The commission has, however, said that if a test is considered urgent then it can be conducted but the attending doctor will bear the responsibility.
With these, the commission has issued 10 advisories to private hospitals. Eight advisories were issued last week.
Senior state health department officials said the Mamata Banerjee government may in the future fix the rates of treatment in intensive care unit (ICU), critical care unit (CCU) and ventilation facilities as well.
“The chief minister (who is in charge of the health department as well) has taken note of numerous complaints. In one of these cases, a family had to pay Rs 1.5 lakh in one and a half days although the patient was not in critical state,” said an official who did not want to be quoted.
While the government’s decision to put a ceiling on advance deposit has not drawn any adverse reaction from hospitals, some have questioned the logic behind explaining the necessity of tests to a patient’s family during critical care.
Rupak Barua, president, Association of Hospitals of Eastern India, said, “We have received two advisories. There are some aspects of advisory No 10 which need some clarification. We will request the commission to share some more clarity.”
Saturday’s advisories came a week after the commission issued seven advisories in one go, saying numerous anomalies have come to its notice. All hospitals and laboratories in the state are registered under the Clinical Establishment (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Act
The government last week said most hospitals were charging patients for the most expensive antibiotics, antifungals, analgesics and other drugs although these are available in different price ranges. In one of the advisories, the commission said, “Patients’ relatives shall be offered to choose which brand they would like to purchase.”
“The government has already fixed a sum of Rs 1,000 per day on account of PPE to be charged in the in-patient bill. However, some of the clinical establishments are charging additional amounts on account of sanitizer, additional gloves, head gear, etc,” said an advisory issued last week.
“It has come to the notice of the commission that the pathological laboratories authorized to conduct Covid-19 tests by way of home collection are charging additional amounts over and excess of Rs 2250 fixed by the government,” said another advisory issued last Saturday.