Almost 22 COVID-19 patients in Bengaluru will receive the refund of the amount they were charged by SSNMC Super Specialty Hospital in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, that exceeded the rates fixed by the Karnataka government.
The incident came into light after a specially constituted hospital supervisory team of IPS and IAS officers operating in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Zone examined the billing records of the hospital.
It was found out that these patients were asked to pay for the treatment in advance, which supposedly should be free after government referral, and amounts to Rs 24 lakh.
Senior IPS officer D Roopa, along with IAS officer Harsh Gupta have been given the charge of enforcing state government rates for COVID-19 treatment when patients are referred by government authorities.
D Roopa took to twitter informing about the incident.
Govt of Karnataka has fixed limits of rates fr charging covid patients by hospitals. To ensure this, I along with HarshGupta IAS &our team,visited a hospital by surprise, spoke to admitted patients on phone,found discrepancies. Hospital has agreed to refund excess amount charged. https://t.co/pooFpovqJ4 pic.twitter.com/P85DIrwhVi— D Roopa IPS (@D_Roopa_IPS) July 23, 2020
The team has three hospitals under them for monitoring - BGS Global Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Kengeri, Rajarajeshwari Medical College and Hospital on Mysore Road, and SSNMC Super Specialty Hospital in HBCS Layout of Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
On Thursday night, they visited SSNMC Hospital and learnt that the hospital management had collected nearly Rs 24 lakh as advance payments from these patients for COVID treatment.
According to The Bengaluru Live report, the team had spoken to attendants of few patients for confirmation prior to visiting the hospital.
In one of the incidents, a youth, whose parents are infected was forced to deposit Rs 2.5 lakh as advance and was asked by the management to arrange for another Rs 5 lakh for the treatment. Reportedly, the youth has a salary of Rs 15,000 a month.
Shockingly, the patients were charged hefty amounts for the beds that came under government referrals, but the hospital showed it under their private quota.
Of the total 120 beds, 60 were reserved for the government-referral COVID-19 cases. But the management kept 40 beds for themselves, and had allotted only 18 beds to the government. Similarly, of the total 24 ICU beds, 12 ICU beds were for government referrals, but it set aside only six.
The investigation by the team further revealed that the patients were being charged Rs 20,000 per day, against the state government's prescribed Rs 10,000 a day.
The hospital management was asked to hand over the 60 beds, including the 12 ICU beds immediately to the state government for referred COVID patients. Nodal officer Ashok Gowda, AEE, collected details of the 22 patients, who were overcharged at SSNMC, along with their bank account number, and were ensured of receiving the refund.
My team,with enforcement minded HarshGuptaIAS,has ensured that govt rates are followed by hospitals.Painstakingly,nodal officer Ashok Gowda,AEE,has collected details of 22 patients overcharged. Their bank a/c no taken. Amount of 24lacs as in pic, will be remitted back to patients pic.twitter.com/4GztrfeJJU— D Roopa IPS (@D_Roopa_IPS) July 24, 2020