The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has appealed to citizens to bring to its notice if they have been overcharged by private hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19. The civic body last month appointed auditors for various private hospitals after receiving complaints of overcharging by some facilities for coronavirus treatment.
Since then, the auditors have settled 134 complaints pertaining to 26 private hospitals and bill amounts have been collectively reduced by Rs 23.42 lakh, the BMC said in a statement. The total amount charged from all the complainants was Rs 1,61,88,819. After the audit of these bills, the amount was reduced to Rs 1,38,46,705, it said.
To ensure private hospitals charge bills as per the government rates, the BMC said it has appointed two auditors for every private hospital, and also made available to the public some e-mail IDs for registering complaints. The state government has also appointed five IAS officers to ensure proper distribution of 80 per cent of the beds in private hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, it said.
Last month, the state government issued a notification to take over 80 per cent of the beds in private hospitals and nursing homes and put a cap on COVID-19 treatment charges. According to the notification, charges for a COVID-19 patient in the general isolation ward cannot exceed Rs 4,000 a day, the maximum charge for an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is capped at Rs 7,500 a day, and for ventilators it is Rs 9,000 a day.