Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has now asked patients to send complaints of being overcharged by hospitals to the official email accounts of district collectors. After receiving many such complaints, the government has decided to move in the matter.
Health officials have said they will take stern action against hospitals if they get any complaints from patients. Sudhakar Shinde, CEO, State Health Assurance Society, said they had released the email ids of district collectors so that people could email their complaints of being overcharged.
“There were several discussions on this overcharging issue, following which it was decided that the issue should be directly taken up by district collectors. Accordingly, patients are asked to email their respective district collectors if they have been overcharged by any hospitals,” he said.
Following complaints of profiteering by private hospitals, the public health department had fixed package costs for 173 procedures, including cancer and bypass surgeries, knee and hip replacements, cataract, hernia, normal and Caesarean deliveries, on April 30.
It had also barred hospitals from charging a mark-up fee of more than 10 per cent on the procurement cost of PPEs or implants, lenses, etc.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope has also warned of stern action if private hospitals did not comply with the price cap and follow the new schedule of rates for various medical procedures released by the government on April 30. “We came across complaints that private hospitals are charging anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for a single day of treatment.
We have taken a decision to cap prices of procedures and we will be firm about it. Private hospitals have to comply and cap charges,” Tope said. However, sources said, only complaints received after the circular was issued on April 30 will be addressed.
“At least four complaints have landed, but since they were related to treatment carried out before the state notification, there may not be any action,” he said. The state government also plans to set up a helpline that patients can call if they have been exorbitantly charged.