BENGALURU: The National Health Mission director on Monday sent a notice to Apollo Hospital for exceeding the government cost cap. “The total cost of Covid-19 testing per patient should not exceed Rs 4,500. But it is seen that, in the bill raised by your hospital dated 25th June, an amount of Rs 6,000 is charged. This is a clear violation...” the notice said, and sought a response within two days, failing which action would be taken. Malini Aisola, co-convener of All India Drug Action Network, had shared the bill from Apollo Hospital, Bengaluru, on Twitter. A Covid-19 patient also shared his bill receipt with TNIE, dated July 1, from Manipal Hospitals in Bengaluru, that charged him Rs 6,083.
The State had, on April 17, capped the rates for samples referred by the government to private labs, at Rs 2,250. Individuals who approached private labs directly could be charged a maximum of Rs 4,500, as capped by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Additional chief secretary, health and family welfare department, Jawaid Akhtar said, “Charging Rs 6,000 is clearly beyond the ICMR cap. We will take action against such labs.”
In response to TNIE’s query, Apollo Hospitals said, “We have already initiated the refund process and rates have been revised as per government guidelines. Apollo Hospitals has always strictly followed guidelines issued by ICMR and health department...”Manipal Hospitals responded with, “Manipal Hospitals has always followed protocol and abided by government guidelines. The patient has visited our hospital and what he claims to be in excess is inclusive of registration, consultation fee and PPE kit for a swab test.”