New Delhi: Several discrepancies came to light after a three-member panel, which was set up to audit billing by 35 private COVID hospitals during the second wave, conducted its investigation. The panel found that these discrepancies were also in form of overcharging ranging between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh.
According to an English daily, the three-member panel comprises Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation commissioner Mahendra Singh Tanwar, the then chief medical officer NK Gupta and chief treasury officer Laxmi Mishra.
The team was looking into the matter after receiving complaints from numerous COVID patients and their families alleging that they have been overcharged, following which the hospitals were given time till June 25 to comply.
The report in Times of India also said that over 90 percent of the hospitals in question have returned the extra amount to the patients and the remaining hospitals are been given the last chance to do so and rectify their mistakes before the final report is submitted by the panel.
“We audited five bills each of the maximum amounts from 35 hospitals and found discrepancies in most of them. No punitive action has been taken, but the centres have been asked to reconsider the bills and return the additional amounts to patients. The process is yet to be completed. The panel will compile the hospitals’ replies and submit the final report to the administration,” the report quoted Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation commissioner Mahendra Singh Tanwar as saying.
Additionally, Dr Ashish Agarwal, IMA president, Ghaziabad chapter, said, “About 90% of the hospitals have complied with the committee’s order and returned the differential amount. The remaining facilities are looking into the matter. A sub-divisional magistrate has been appointed to hear the hospitals’ grievances and those who have any queries have met the officials for clarification.”
The health department had received over 20 complaints of overcharging by patients’ families, following which the panel was set up. Additionally, up to Rs 10 lakh was returned by private hospitals following scrutiny.