“A private hospital where my father (78) was admitted charged Rs 1.5 lakh for five days in general bed. The major part of the bill included items like PPE kit, mask and gloves. The most unfortunate thing is that my father died two days after they discharged him. It seems they either did not treat him properly or could not detect the complication,” said Saroj Kumar Dash.
Bhagirathi Sahu, an attendant of a Covid-19 patient undergoing treatment at a state empanelled Covid care hospital in Bhoi Nagar brought similar allegations. “Before we could decide which hospital to go to, the BMC authorities admitted my younger brother to the hospital. They don’t have an automatic oximeter to check oxygen level of patients. Every day they are charging Rs 5000 for three PPE kits worn by their staff, while PPE kits are available in open market at Rs 300 per piece. We have been charged under sub-heads we couldn’t even think of. They are openly looting people,” alleged Sahu. He claimed the hospital asked them to arrange for Remdesivir for his brother. “When we expressed our inability, they gave it at Rs 4000 per vial. On the second day they charged us Rs 4800 for the same saying the price has gone up,” he added.
Many private hospitals, it seems, are violating the capping of rates issued by the state government for treatment of Covid-19 patients. “They have many ways of doing that. If the patient has co-morbidity, then there is no capping and the hospital bill will skyrocket. My father suffers from kidney ailment and got infected with Covid. And even though he was insured, the bill was Rs 3 lakh. Though there is a need for proper scrutiny on the part of government, but with situation turning worse due to rise in cases, we don’t expect any help,” said Paritosh Patnaik, who lost his father recently. Hospital authorities refused to comment on the allegations.