Coronavirus in Panvel: PMC forms audit and vigilance team to check inflated medical bills by private hospitals
Coronavirus in Panvel: PMC forms audit and vigilance team to check inflated medical bills by private hospitals
Photo Credit: PTI

The Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC) has initiated the audit process of 25 private hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated. The civic body has assigned four senior civic officials for carrying out the audit of bills of private hospitals since they started the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

In addition, the civic body has also formed two vigilance teams of four officials each to check inflated bill issues.

There has been a number of complaints regarding inflated medical bills by private hospitals in the Panvel area for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Despite district administration direction, the local body could not initiate the process of audit owing to a stay by the Nagpur bench of High Court on September 25.

The state government had fixed charges for COVID treatment and issued a circular on May 21 which was challenged by a few private hospitals. However, the state government had also come out with another circular on August 30 with revised charges. The court was updated with the new charges following which the court lifted the stay order.

Kantilal Kadu, President of Panvel Sangharsh Samiti, who is following the inflated bill issues in Panvel says that it is a major development as we can expect relief for poor people who are being forced to pay inflated medical bills for COVID treatment. “There are a few hospitals in the city which are continuously overcharging patients. Despite district administration order for an audit of the private hospital bill, the local body was reluctant in taking action,” said Kadu. However, on the contrary, the local administration cited a court stay order which prohibited them to conduct the audit.

Now, the civic body has distributed 25 private hospitals among these four civic officials for conducting the audit since the treatment of COVID started. These officials will have a doctor and account department official to help in the audit. “They will visit in given hospitals and check bills since the treatment of COVID started,” said a senior civic official.

Meanwhile, the two vigilance teams have four officials each including additional municipal commissioner and deputy municipal commissioner. They will have the power to conduct an audit of any private hospitals and can also impose penalties if required.

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