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Commission asks 3 pvt hosps not to admit patients post complaints of overcharging

Commission asks 3 pvt hosps not to admit patients post complaints of overcharging

KOLKATA: West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) on Monday directed three private hospitals in the city, including Apex Clinic in Behala, Good Samaritan Hospital in Park Circus and Ujjivan in New Town not to admit patients after allegations of overcharging surfaced against these hospitals.

Ujjivan hospital has been newly set up and all the three private hospitals are under the same ownership. WBCERC has sought clarification from the private hospitals within 24 hours.

WBCERC chairperson Justice (retired) Ashim Banerjee said: "We have received some complaints against these three hospitals regarding billing. Complaints had surfaced in social media as well. We have sent these complaints to a senior official of these hospitals. The hospitals have been asked to submit some bills to the Commission on a random basis. We will go through the bills and then decide the future course of action."

It may be mentioned here that these hospitals were earlier accused of denying treatment to the patients under the Swasthya Sathi scheme of the State government. The state government has already fixed different rates so that the private hospitals cannot fleece the patients.

In its directives, the Commission categorically said private hospitals can charge a Covid patient up to Rs 1,000 for a single day for PPE costs and others and another Rs 1,000 for doctors' fee for a single day. Bed fees have been fixed at Rs 1,000 and in case of critical care patients the hospital can charge Rs 1,000 more. All the private hospitals have been directed by the Commission to put up the rate chart at the reception. Despite the directives, complaints often surface against the hospital that they try to charge an extra amount on the patients' relatives.

The commission has also cautioned some pathology centres against charging exorbitant prices for Covid tests. It said they cannot charge the patient more than the rate fixed by the state government. WBCERC Chairperson said some pathological centres were charging extra money which would not be allowed.

"They can charge extra only in case of home collection that too only Rs 15 per km. The labs have various collection centers in the city and suburbs. They can charge extra when the sample is transported between the patient's house and the nearest collection center. People will not be entitled to pay additional cost for transporting the sample to the main office of the lab," Banerjee said.

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