Nagpur: The NMC has ordered SevenStar Dedicated Covid Hospital, situated at Jagnade Square, to return excess charges recovered from Covid-19 patients within two days. It has also issued second show-cause notice to the hospital for overcharging non-Covid patients and directed it to refund the excess amount.
TOI on August 3 had highlighted SevenStar DCH recovering charges much above the rates approved by the state and NMC. Taking cognisance of the report, municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe had formed a five-member squad to monitor private hospitals and initiate action if they are found charging Covid-19 and non-Covid patients above the rates finalized by it on June 4.
The squad led by additional municipal commissioner Jalaj Sharma (IAS) inspected SevenStar DCH the same day and found it to be overcharging patients. After getting the report, Mundhe had issued a show-cause notice August 6 to which the hospital filed reply on August 8.
After finding the hospital’s reply unsatisfactory, Mundhe on Tuesday directed SevenStar DCH to refund excess charges and also advance taken from Covid-19 patients. Rejecting the hospital’s claim of not being informed about charges finalized by the government and NMC, Munde said, “Government had issued guidelines on May 21 which are automatically applicable to your hospital. NMC issued guidelines on June 4, which were widely publicized.”
Mundhe also directed the hospital to charge 80% beds as per rates finalized by the NMC and remaining as per its own rates. He also asked the hospital to display on each bed whether it was being charged as per government or own rates. He also directed the hospital to comply with the orders, submit compliance report and answer all queries raised in the notice within two days. “The hospital will be liable for action under The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, Disaster Management Act 2005, Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance (Amendment) Act 2011, Mumbai Nursing Home (Amendment) Act 2006, Bombay Nursing Home (Amendment) Act 2006 and Bombay Public Trusts Act 1950,” said Mundhe.
In the second notice, Mundhe said the hospital has been found deliberately violating the guidelines related to non-Covid patients. “Your hospital has levied excess charges. Bills of only 304 out of 991 patients were presented. Possibility of discrepancies in remaining bills cannot be ruled out. Refund excess amount to all patients who were admitted and discharged after May 21, submit bills, compliance report and replies within two days,” read the notice. The hospital told TOI, “We are going into the details of each patient. We are committed to follow the guidelines issued by the administration.” NMC had taken similar action against Wockhardt DCH on August 8.