West Bengal private hospitals asked to provide discounts on medicines

By: |
August 23, 2020 8:14 AM

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission issued a number of advisories to private hospitals after receiving complaints of inflated bills, especially from COVID-19 patients.

It also asked the hospitals to reduce bed charges.It also asked the hospitals to reduce bed charges. (Representative image)

A regulatory body for private hospitals of West Bengal on Saturday directed the medical establishments to provide discounts to patients on medicines and reduce bed charges so that the cost of treatment comes down.

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission issued a number of advisories to private hospitals after receiving complaints of inflated bills, especially from COVID-19 patients.

An association of private hospitals said that it has sought some time to implement the directives and also needed clarification on some points.

“The hospitals should either provide a 10 per cent discount on drugs or allow patient parties to purchase medicines from outside. Most of the medicine shops provide a 20 per cent discount,” a senior member of the Commission said after a meeting that decided to send the advisories.

The Commission also asked private hospitals in the state to provide a 20 per cent discount on cotton, syringe and bandage to in-house patients, he added. It also asked the hospitals to reduce bed charges.

“We have received complaints that during this pandemic situation, some hospitals increased charges of beds. So, we decided to advise them to bring that down to what it was on or before March 1 this year,” another member of the Commission said.

Private hospitals should also display the charges of all forms of treatment at the reception, he said. The Commission also asked the hospitals not to deny admission to any patient during the COVID-19 pandemic under any circumstances, even if they fail to deposit an advance payment.

Association of Hospitals of Eastern India President Rupak Barua said, “We have requested the Commission for some time to discuss internally and also to share some more clarity.”

He denied that hospitals increased bed charges after the pandemic set in and said that rates are reviewed at the end of every financial year.

“Factoring in inflation, rates are revised, on an average not more than 5-10 per cent. This comes into effect from April 1 every year. The same was done this year too,” Barua said in a statement.

“As for incidents of over billing of COVID patients are concerned, those should be treated like stray incidents, and not standard practice,” he said.

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