Ujjain: The second wave of corona is wreaking havoc across the district, Janta curfew imposed by administration has crippled the local economy and the staff at the crematorium are working overtime to perform the last rites of the people who are dying of corona, but even in this hour of crisis the private hospitals are overcharging patients and are even refusing to release the body of the deceased under the pretext of non-payment of bill.
On Saturday, Saharsh Hospital management on Udayan Marg handed over a bill of Rs 2.34 lakh to the kin of a woman who died of corona.
The management reportedly declined to hand over the body as the kin refused to pay the inflated bill. The tussle led to an uproar in the hospital. Eventually the officials of local administration reached the spot and paved the way for handing over the body after payment of ‘reduced’ bill.
The kin of the deceased, one Deepak Sunhere said that 10 days ago, his mother Ramkali Sunhere’s health deteriorated. So, he shifted her to the Saharsh Hospital. At the time of hospitalisation, Sunhere deposited Rs 70,000. The hospital management had told him at the time of admission that he would have to arrange oxygen in case of an emergency. His mother's treatment continued, and on Friday, her mother tested negative for corona. He was told that she will soon be discharged from the hospital. But on Saturday, her condition deteriorated suddenly and Ramkali Bai died.
According to Sunhere, after his mother’s death, the hospital management handed him a bill of Rs 2.34 lakh and told him that her body will be released only after he pays the bill and the ruckus ensued. Administrative officials ordered the management to reduce the bill by Rs 1.64 lakh. Sunhere took the body by paying the remaining Rs 30,000. He accused the hospital management of overcharging patients and flouting the cap on charges fixed by the local administration.
According to Sunhere, while admitting the mother in the hospital, he had deposited Rs 70, 000. The management took the medicines bill separately from him. Injections worth Rs 1.16 lakh were also administered to his mother. This entire amount was taken in cash, but details were not given to him.
Similarly, the room charge was recovered at the rate of Rs 4,500 per day while Rs 3,600 per day was charged for oxygen, though the oxygen cylinders were arranged by the patients’ relatives. According to Sunhere, the oxygen stock in the hospital was always exhausted. In such a situation, they were forced to make arrangements on their own. Further, visiting fees of doctors were charged at Rs 3,500 though the administration has fixed it at Rs 1,500 per day.
The hospital management could not be contacted in this regard. Two days ago, the District Crisis Management Group fixed the charge of private hospitals. The group received complaints of irregularities and exorbitant and arbitrariness in charges pertaining to oxygen supply and visiting fees of doctors. The SOP was issued by collector Asheesh Singh shortly thereafter. The maximum rate of oxygen has been fixed at Rs 150 per hour and the visiting fee is capped at Rs 1,500 per day. As per the order, all other surcharges were also withdrawn with immediate effect.