NEW DELHI: Steep bills being charged by private hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients have been met with severe backlash from the relatives and kin of the admitted.
Some took to Twitter to express their difficulties in paying the large amounts being charged.
The Morning Standard spoke to two such families whose kin were admitted to Max Hospital in the national capital. The families shared their experience and hiccups in terms of paying the bills.
Surender Gaur, whose brother was admitted at the same hospital, added that they were charged with Rs 4.08 lakh of which he is yet to pay around Rs 30,000.
“They had charged us Rs 70,900 just for PPE kits… They also charged a hefty fee on per day visit of a specialised doctor who hardly visited seven times, whereas in the bill it shows 22 times. Per day charge was said to be Rs 30,000 and the two days he was admitted to the private ward we were charged Rs 55,000. The senior doctor whose scheduled visit has been mentioned in the bill never showed up. It was a junior doctor who visited,” he stated.
The bill which was seen by the reporter indicated that the per-day charge of a PPE kit varied between Rs 4,300 and Rs 8,900. The billing slip of another patient also showed that the hospital charged Rs 8,900 per day for a single PPE kit.
Surender added that the authorities had offered him a discount on the total billing when he questioned the breakup for nine days his brother was admitted.
“I am associated with the Delhi Police and had dialled the helpline number when the administration was not giving me any logical reasoning behind the billing procedure. Probably that’s why they offered me a discount, which I refused to accept. I have asked for a proper bill,” Surender noted.
Pritam Singh, a retired government employee whose wife, aged 53, was admitted on May 6, said that the hospital authorities did not alert him about the hospital fees and charges during the time of admission. “There was no clarity on what the charges would be per day. My wife succumbed to the virus as she was a dialysis patient on May 11. The hospital asked for Rs 80,000 per day just for a ventilator. The bill came to around Rs 4 lakh and I had to pay in cash because that’s what they were accepting. Whatever the bill stated, we paid, there was no other option,” Singh added.
The reporter tried seeking a response from the hospital authorities multiple times to no avail. A government health department official had no response when he was asked if there is any plan on introducing a price cap on Covid treatment at private hospitals.