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The Karnataka government on Monday, July 6 issued a notice to Apollo Hospitals, Seshadripuram for allegedly overcharging a patient for a COVID-19 test.
The notice was from the National Health Mission (NHM) seeking an explanation within two days from the hospital authorities for charging Rs 6,000 for a COVID-19 test, in violation of the Indian Medical Research Institute's (ICMR) guidelines and government orders.
"With reference to the above subject, the total cost of Covid-19 testing per patient should not exceed ₹4,500. But it is seen that, in the bill raised by your hospital dated 25 June, 2020 an amount of ₹6,000 is charged," the NHM said in its notice.
According to The News Minute, Malini Aisola who works with the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) had tweeted a bill, tagging the hospital, had criticised the overcharging practice.
In a tweet, Malini Aisola from AIDAN wrote, "Karnataka govt on April 17 capped COVID test charges for govt samples at ₹2250. But it has failed miserably to reign in pvt labs. @HospitalsApollo Bengaluru is charging ₹6000: ₹4500 for test + ₹1500 as "sample handling charges"
Karnataka govt on April 17 capped COVID test charges for govt samples at ₹2250. But it has failed miserably to reign in pvt labs. @HospitalsApollo Bengaluru is charging ₹6000: ₹4500 for test + ₹1500 as "sample handling charges" @BSYBJP @sriramulubjp @ICMRDELHI @ProfBhargava pic.twitter.com/DQ5iG8XAO4— Malini Aisola (@malini_aisola) July 5, 2020
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," reported The New Indian Express.
"We have already initiated the refund process and the rates have been revised as per government guidelines. Apollo Hospitals has always strictly followed the guidelines issued by ICMR and the state health department and will continue to do so," the hospital said in a statement on Monday.
The private hospitals in the state have been on the receiving ends after several media reports highlighted incidents of COVID-19 patients dying due to refusal of treatment.
Medical education minister K.Sudhakar on Sunday, July 4, had warned private hospitals of strict legal action if they refused to admit any patient.
The Yediyurappa government had issued notices to 18 private hospitals that refused to admit a 52-year-old patient over two days (27 and 28 June) who later died.
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