Lordship g r swaminathan -Madras high court has directed the authorities and Tamil Nadu Medical Council to inquire and take action on a complaint against a private hospital for collecting exorbitant charges for Covid-19 treatment in Madurai.

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HC orders probe into hospital charging Rs 8L for treating Covid
Kaushik Kannan | TNN | Sep 28, 2020, 04:43 IST
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Madurai: Madras high court has directed the authorities and Tamil Nadu Medical Council to inquire and take action on a complaint against a private hospital for collecting exorbitant charges for Covid-19 treatment in Madurai.
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Petitioner Nehru and his wife Vasuki, who were suffering from severe fever and headache, went to NTC Hospital at Vaithiyanathapuram which told them that they were probably suffering from Covid-19, and asked them to pay Rs 8 lakh for admission. The petitioner paid Rs 5lakh in cash and the balance Rs 3lakh through credit card after which they were admitted to the hospital on July 8. After test results turned negative, they were discharged on July 10. Though they were given a bill of Rs 65,840 each, the hospital had refunded only Rs 1,05,000 and said there would not be any further refund. Hence, Nehru moved HC Madurai seeking action against the hospital.
The hospital management in their counter denied the petitioner’s claim and stated that he had paid only Rs 3lakh. It was also submitted that they had charged only as per the scheduled rates and that the balance amount was also refunded. Justice G R Swaminathan observed that in normal course of events, the court should have dismissed the writ petition on the ground that the matter involves an investigation into a factual dispute. The judge said there is nothing on record to indicate that the petitioner had paid Rs 5lakh in cash.
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However, the judge recalled that another person, Nagendran, had filed a similar petition against the same hospital stating that he had paid Rs 5.9lakh for treatment and though bills were given for only Rs 40,000 the remaining amount was not refunded. The judge observed that the man’s counsel withdrew his petition informing that the balance Rs 5.5 lakh was refunded.
When the hospital had collected Rs 5.9lakh from a single patient, it is difficult to believe that they collected only Rs 3lakh for both Nehru and his wife. Hence the judge directed the director of medical and rural health services to inquire into the complaint and take appropriate actions. The judge also permitted the petitioner to submit a malpractice complaint to the Tamil Nadu Medical Council and further directed them to inquire into the complaint and take appropriate action on merits.

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