At one of the reputed hospitals in Bannerghatta road in Bangalore, he nearly emptied his wallet for admitting his diseased wife.
“I had been overcharged by the hospital, and even after complaining for several times I haven’t received complete refund of the overcharged amount” says Sharad Mukim, the patient’s husband. “This happened not only for my wife, there are several victims like me who complained in consumer complaints forum.”
“My wife had a stomachache and after being diagnosed by our family doctor at JP Nagar, the hospital’s doctor suggested that my wife undergoes ectopic surgery.”
“On the doctor’s advice, we first visited an Apollo hospital, but on second opinion, I admitted her in another corporate hospital at Bannerghatta, on March 15.”
“There, I was given an estimated amount of Rs 1,15,000 for a multi bed room, and Rs 1,75,000 for a twin bed room, and told me that the final bill will be more or less 10 percent of the estimated amount for ectopic surgery.”
According to the bills shown by Sharad, which he had paid in the hospital, after scrutinizing them he found a few errors in the hospital bill and got four corrected bills after his consecutive complaints.
He noticed that he was charged for a few pharmacy items that were not used by his wife in the hospital. During the time of admission he had opted for a room with multi bed as the twin bed cost was not in his budget, but he was charged for twin bed room after all.
After complaining about this, hospital management corrected the bill and refunded the overcharged amount and his bill was finally reduced to Rs 97,967 with a difference of Rs 44,160 of first-bill. He wrote to the hospital management regarding the issue and he got the response but was not convinced with the response, said Shard to IIJNM. There is still a difference of 30-35 percent in the bill; he alleges that he was overcharged and should get Rs 27,000 back.
“I can prove that I had been overcharged for my wife’s treatment and I have four bills after multiple corrections. The hospital has not provided a single valid reason that the charges were correct. It looks like this is an error done to almost every patient who had admitted in this hospital” said Sharad Mukim.
There is a similar issue with another corporate hospital at Kundalahalli. For a test which costs Rs 4500 outside but I got charged Rs 8000, says another victim.
“Out of 144 cases filed in Consumer Court regarding fraudulent and overcharged billing practices (medical negligence) 119 cases were settled so far and only 11 for 2018.Whereas 10 cases were settled in 2017” based on statistics provided by Pushpa B R, assistant registrar and administrator of the office at IV- Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bangalore.
“This type of fraudulent and overcharging bill practice come under the Consumer Protection Act, to protect the interest of consumers in India, to regulate settlement of consumers’ disputes and also comes under MCI- Rules of Practice (Code of Medical Ethics Regulations), where the law takes disciplinary action against the Medical practitioner or hospital authorities involved in the case, says Brijesh M Singh, Karnataka High Court lawyer.”
Sharad is still fighting against the hospital for his overcharged bill, and the hospital told him that the Insurance Company will raise the issue if there is any error. In reply to the hospital management Sharad said, “It was not the insurance company that was charged, I was, and yes, the insurance company paid some amount on my behalf and eventually it’s my money, and I will question about the same. I am not one of those people who think that insurance company is paying the bill.