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Health Commission asks at least five pvt hosps to return money

Kolkata: The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) has issued order to five private hospitals in the state to refund money to the patients or their family members in separate incidents after it found that they were exorbitantly charged by the hospital authorities.

The decision came during a hearing on Monday. The Vivekananda Hospital in Durgapur was asked to return around Rs 50,000. Shrila Chowdhury who was charged Rs 1,06,217 for her stay of less than 24 hours. The patient was admitted to the hospital on October 11 and she died on the next day. During that time it was not also determined whether she was affected with Covid. After the family members of the deceased lodged a complaint with the Commission, it carried out a probe and found that the charges were absurd.

"The family members were told by the hospital that they would be charged with bed fees for two days and a two days package would also be applied for them. The patient did not even stay for 24 hours. The hospital has been directed to refund Rs 50,000 to the family members," WBCERC Chairperson Justice (retired) Ashim Kumar Banerjee said.

Medica Hospital in the city has been instructed to refund Rs 30,000 in connection with the treatment of an 84-year-old patient Sushila Devi Goyel, a resident of Salt Lake. The patient remained under treatment at the hospital for four days and the patient's family members were charged Rs 1.7 lakh for her treatment. She was later shifted to a government hospital. The Commission observed that a private hospital cannot ask a patient for hefty charges.

The Commission also directed the ILS Hospital in Howrah to provide a discount of Rs 65,000 and also extended installment facilities to the patient's family who would face difficulties to pay the remaining amount at a time. The patient was asked to pay Rs 1.66 lakh. The patient's family told that they urged the hospital to discharge the patient. After their request, the patient had been kept for two days more and hence the family was reluctant to pay the extra amount for the last two days. The Commission has ordered a discount and also 8 installment facilities. The hospital has also been asked to provide the medical bill to the family members after the first installment is paid.

In another incident the Peerless Hospital has been asked to produce a revised bill in connection with the treatment of one Somnath Das who had remained under treatment for 42 days. The patient was charged Rs 13,08,000. The family members alleged that they were exorbitantly charged. The hospital has however claimed during hearing that it had provided a discount. Besides, Woodlands Hospital was asked to give discount of Rs 17,000.

In two separate incidents, Charnock Hospital has been instructed to refund Rs 2,235 to a patient while R Fleming Hospital was directed to provide a discount of Rs 4,250.

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