The cases of overcharging have increased in most of the hospitals. Months into the pandemic, there are several accusations against private hospitals in Tamil Nadu for defrauding money from coronavirus patients and their kin. The health department fixed two slabs for hospitals classified as A1 and A2, and A3 and A4 depending on the number of beds and doctors available. A hospital belonging to A1 and A2 grade can collect Rs 7,500 per day from asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients, while hospitals in the A3 and A4 grades can collect Rs 5,000 per day.
The maximum charge for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for private hospitals has been set at Rs 15,000 per day. While the state health department officials acknowledge getting such complaints about private hospitals overcharging, they say that they try to negotiate between the aggrieved parties than revoking the hospital’s license at this point in time. A senior health department official tells a leading daily, “We make the hospitals settle the additional amount charged, and like this, we have settled 18 cases across Tamil Nadu,” he says.
“However, if a hospital is consistently overcharging or if there are procedural lapses or if it is underreporting deaths, then we revoke the license. But usually, we try to mediate between the families and the hospitals. The issue of overcharging can be settled immediately – we calculate the bill amount and redress it. If this has happened in Chennai, we can resolve it in a day or two,” the official says. In Tamil Nadu, action has been taken against nine institutions; three institutions have lost their license due to these issues.