Gurugram private hospital, indicted of overbilling, refunds Rs 16 lakh to Rajasthan man at Union Health Minister J P Nadda's intervention
Gopendra Singh Parmar, whose son Sourya Pratap, had been under treatment at Medanta in Gurugram, however, had to take back an FIR he had lodged against the hospital, in lieu of the refund.
NEW DELHI: Father of a dengue patient, who died during the course of treatment, has been returned about Rs 16 lakh by a Corporate hospital, indicted for gross overcharging, following intervention by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.
Gopendra Singh Parmar, whose son Sourya Pratap, had been under treatment at Medanta in Gurugram, however, had to take back an FIR he had lodged against the hospital, in lieu of the refund, triggering concerns that the minister has “brokered a deal” instead of taking action against the hospital.
A report by India’s drug price regulator—National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority—after dissecting bills of treatments of four patients, at four different hospitals, against whom overbilling complaints were made, had said that hospitals had made up to 1700 per cent profits on many consumables and drugs.
One of the hospitals, which had been indicted, was Medanta while Parmar, a resident of Dholpur in Rajasthan and an LIC agent by profession, was also a complainant.
A letter sent out by Nadda’s additional personal secretary Om Prakash Sharma to Medanta chairman and managing director Naresh Trehan on the minister’s behalf said that he was intervening at the behest of Karauli-Dholpur MP Manoj Rajoria and the hospital should refund the money on “humanitarian grounds.”
“The applicant (Parmar) belongs to a poor family and keeping in view the sudden demise of his son, please consider his plea sympathetically and refund the money,” the letter read.
Nadda, however, did not respond to calls and messages by this newspaper.
Parmar received a cheque from the hospital on March 20, 19 days after the letter was sent by the minister,on the condition that he or any of his family members will not pursue any legal case in this matter.
None of the Medanta spokespersons were available for comments.
Parmar, who had mortgaged his house and land to fund his son’s treatment said he was “feeling bad about taking the money from the hospital but had no other option”.
“I have a five-year-old son and I have to see to his future. How will we manage without a house or any land?” he said.
“But its unfortunate that I, and many like me, have to suffer like this due to exploitation in the name of medical treatment,” he said.
Jayant Singh, the father of Aadya Singh, who had also coughed up Rs 17 lakh at Fortis, Gurugram even as her daughter died of dengue, said that minister had set a “wrong precedent by sealing in the compromise.”
“While it’s totally understandable that Parmar was forced to settle for the refund due to his financial condition, why cannot the government, in this case, helped him instead of brokering a deal and in the process abdicating the hospital of all the charges?” he asked.
Singh, who has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court, for a Rs 10 crore compensation and Rs 100 crore patient relief fund, had declined an offer by Fortis for Rs 30 lakh compensation.
“It is an unqualified good thing that late Sourya’s family was refunded the bill amount. However, we need an enduring solution to the problem of exploitation by private hospitals,” said a statement by All India Drug Action Network.