Health panel cracks whip on Charnock Hospital

Kolkata: The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC), which was formed following the instructions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to address public grievances against private hospitals and to fix accountability on them, completed its 250th hearing on Friday.

The WBCERC has already become a major platform for thousands of people who often face various issues, including excessive billing by private hospitals. Even since the WBCERC started its operations, its websites have been flooded with complaints. It held its first administrative meeting in March 2017.

The Commission held a hearing on Friday when it asked Charnock Hospital to revise a bill of a patient who was admitted in a deluxe cabin as a cash patient while she was entitled to get free treatment under the West Bengal Health scheme. Somnath Das took his wife to the hospital on June 2 this year after she complained of abdominal pain. Das works in the state Fire and Emergency Department and the family is entitled to get treatment under the state health scheme. Initially denied a bed, he was later given a deluxe bed by the hospital.

The hospital told the Commission that the patient's husband agreed to admit his wife as a cash patient. Das, however, has denied it. The patient was charged Rs 6,500 every day as bed charges. The hospital charged a total bill of Rs 71,072. After going through the bills, the WBCERC found that the patient was exorbitantly charged under the heads of medicine and consumables. The Commission directed the hospital to provide a discount of Rs 2,278 as the medicine and consumable charges were high. The hospital has also been directed to prepare a revised bill that will be submitted to the state government.

The hospital will be able to retain only Rs 18,000 out of the total amount charged. If the state government clears an amount lesser than the amount the patient has paid, the hospital will have to give the remaining amount to the patient.

The Commission also asked Royd Nursing Home to return Rs 4,000 to a patient as there were some mistakes in the ECG report. In another incident, it has also directed New Town Nursing Home to return Rs 12,360 to an elderly patient who was charged an extra amount.

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