Mumbai: Another private hospital delivers 'sticker' shock for Covid-cured

Mumbai: Yet another instance of a private hospital in the city exorbitantly charging Covid-19 patients has come to light. Nanavati Hospital has reportedly forced patients to shell out as much as Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6.9 lakh, for undergoing treatment for periods ranging from a week to 23 days. 

The bills, copies of which are with The Free Press Journal, show that the hospital has charged at least Rs 8,900-Rs 9,500 for PPE and levied a Rs 800 charge for the disposal of bio-medical waste. A local politician has complained to the BMC about the hospital charging extra for PPE.

On April 22, a female diagnosed with Covid-19 was admitted to Ward No.10 of the hospital. At the time of discharge, she was shocked to be presented with a bill for Rs 2,40,670, of which Rs 73,300 was the charge for personal protective equipment (PPE) and Rs 51,900 for medicines and consumables.

Local Sena leader Jitendra Janawale said the patient's bills clearly show how Nanavati is overcharging in the name of Covid treatment. “As per the bills, patients are being charged Rs 6,800 to Rs 9,500 per quantity, per day, for PPE used by doctors and nurses while treating or visiting patients. However, the hospital is procuring this personal protective gear at Rs 750 per unit,” he said.

In another instance on April 22, a 65-year-old female patient admitted to second class Ward No. 8 of the hospital for Covid treatment, was charged Rs 5,71,620 at the time of discharge. Similarly, a 69-year-old resident of Mohmmad Ali Road, hospitalised for 23 days, was charged Rs 6,97,756. 

Repeated attempts to contact hospital authorities failed to elicit a response.

“Although there is a capping of hospital bed charges and doctor's charges, there are other charges -- for ventilator, tests including blood tests, medicines and personal protective kits like single-use PPE for medical staff, for which the hospital claims to incur a cost of Rs 9,500 a day per patient,” said Nichola Almeida of the Watchdog Foundation.

Civic officials said they would meet with the CEOs of private hospitals to address this issue. On March 20, the BMC had directed all private hospitals to charge Rs 4,500 or 50 per cent of the total bill for a bed. But it has been learnt they continue to charge Rs 3.5-6.5 lakh per patient. “So far we have not received any complaints but will investigate the matter and meeting hospital CEOs to standardise prices,” an official said.

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