The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded penal action on private hospitals, which were not only overcharging patients for COVID-19 treatment, but also brazenly defying reimbursement orders issued by the audit teams deputed by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC). In his letter to the civic administration, BJP corporator Ravi Vyas has sought the cancellation of licenses and filing criminal offences against such erring establishments.
Presently, 18 private hospitals have tied up with the MBMC under the 80:20 pattern to facilitate COVID-19 treatment. Hospitals are allowed to charge their own rates for the remaining 20 per cent beds. To ensure that private hospitals charge bills in accordance with the rates notified by the government, MBMC has instituted three teams comprising senior officials who have been assigned with the task of personally visiting private hospitals for audit and verification of medical bills being charged from COVID-19 patients. After releasing the reports submitted by the audit teams in the initial days, the MBMC has abruptly stopped the practice. Consequently, clarity eludes the actual functioning of the teams and their monitored data.
“It is binding upon the teams to submit and release audit reports. However, it has come to light that neither the teams declare the audit reports, nor is any action taken against hospitals who have failed to reimburse the difference amount to patients for more than 3 months,” alleged Vyas. “The audit teams have been performing their duties. But if any hospital is defying reimbursement orders, we will verify and take action. It will take time for me to compile the audit reports of the teams,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sambhajji Waghmare. As per the provisions that were passed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the government has regulated 80 per cent usage of the bed capacity of private hospitals (excluding beds of PICU, NICU, day care, maintenance and hemodialysis) while capping the treatment price that can be billed to patients.