Network hospitals must tell patients about healthcare schemes: Consumer forumUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 19:53 IST
Observing that hospitals empanelled under government healthcare schemes are bound to inform poor patients about the schemes and extend the benefits to poor patients, the additional consumer disputes redressal forum for Mumbai suburban district last week directed a city hospital to refund ₹2.25 lakh charged to a patient on account of angioplasty and angiography tests.
A bench headed by forum president RG Wankhede also directed Surana Sethia Hospital and Research Centre at Chembur to pay an additional amount of ₹30,000 to Tilak Nagar resident Vivek Prabhu as compensation and a sum of ₹10,000 towards litigation cost within a month.
According to his complaint filed through advocate Prashant Nayak in 2016, 54-year-old Prabhu had approached Surana Sethia Hospital in March 2013 as he was feeling uneasy. Following an angiography, the doctors had found that one of Prabhu’s arteries was blocked, and performed an angioplasty on March 6, 2013.
A day before his scheduled discharge three days later, his family members came to know about Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojna, later renamed as Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojna, under which patients belonging to the poor sections of the society were treated free of cost at network hospitals. The family then collected all necessary documents and submitted those to avail the benefits as Surana Sethia Hospital is an empanelled hospital. However, despite being eligible for it, Prabhu was denied the benefit by the hospital.
Therefore, Prabhu approached the consumer forum seeking compensation and refund of the the charges for the treatment. The hospital, however, contested his claim saying that prior approval was required to be obtained from concerned authorities to avail the benefits under the scheme, which Prabhu did not have.
The district forum rejected the objections raised by the hospital and said since the hospital had signed an agreement with Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojna Society for implementation of the scheme, it is required to deploy an Arogya Mitra to inform below poverty line and saffron coloured ration card holders about the benefits available under the scheme.
In this backdrop, the forum said Surana Sethia Hospital was bound to inform Prabhu, who holds a saffron coloured ration card, about the scheme and help him avail the benefits. The forum held the hospital guilty of deficiency in service for failing to do so.