Vadodara: When a patient from Madhya Pradesh was handed over a hefty bill for Covid-19 treatment at a private hospital in the city, all it needed to rectify the bill was a mention that a complaint would be raised with the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The bill amount was rectified even without a formal complaint.
“We merely obtained a copy of the notification fixing rates for treatment and forwarded it to the lady staffer who had contacted us for payments after we found that the bill was exorbitantly high. When the doctor called us, we told them that we were going to raise a complaint. The bill was immediately reduced by around Rs 70,000,” said a relative of the patient from MP.
The VMC had started the special cell after rampant complaints about hospitals overcharging patients. A phone number was publicised as the helpline that patients or relatives could reach if they found that the bills were unjustified.
The cell even came across some interesting cases like that of a couple that was kept in the same special room where usually one patient is kept. Both the husband and wife were billed separately for the room charges by the hospital as if each of them had occupied a separate special room. When the husband mentioned this to a friend, he was advised to approach VMC. The man was refunded Rs 67,000 by the hospital.
“The complaints have been trickling in over the phone, whatsapp or even in person. The patient or relative needs to provide a bill with a detailed break up. We go through the details and if they are in order forward it to a team that includes a doctor and pharmacist,” said VMC’s IT director Manish Bhatt, who is coordinating efforts and is the person who has to be approached for a complaint. He said that so far VMC has till date ensured refund of over Rs 50 lakh to covid patients of different hospitals.
Bhatt said that hospitals usually agree to whatever is found after the scrutiny and issue refunds. “In case, if the hospital wants to discuss the matter, their representatives comes to us and objections are also incorporated if found genuine,” said Bhatt.