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The Special Audit Committee set up by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to look into complaints of overcharging by private hospitals found 11 private hospitals in the city overcharged to the tune of Rs 32 lakh from COVID 19 patients. These hospitals have been directed to return the excess amount collected from the patients’ families.

The civic body has been constantly receiving complaints from patients and their families that private hospitals in the city are overcharging. The civic administration then formed a Special Audit Committee, headed by an additional municipal commissioner with five other members.

On August 18, civic chief Abhijit Bangar had directed all health care providers in the city to follow the guidelines issued by the state government on May 21 and charge bills accordingly. However, the civic health department continued to receive complaints. Following which, the civic administration, based on complaints issued noticed to 10 private hospitals. In addition, the civic body also two other hospitals overcharged patient. A senior official said that prima facie, these hospitals were found overcharging from patients.

“The committee checked all the documents with the hospitals and found discrepancies in bills charged and government fixed charge,” said the official, adding that all 11 private hospitals have been asked to return the excess amount. The amount ranges from Rs 50,000 to Rs 4 lakh.

Meanwhile, the civic administration has decided to conduct audit of all private hospitals treating COVID 19 since March. “The COVID 19 treatment was started at the end of March. Now, all private hospitals who had treated COVID 19 patients since March will come under the purview of audit,” said a senior civic official.

Last week, the civic body set up COVID-19 Bill Complaint Centre for the redressal of inflated bills by private hospitals. As per the civic administration, the centre acts within 24 hours of receiving the complaints. Citizens can now register their complaints over phone or email. Even they can send a complaint on WhatsApp with all documents.

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