Pune: Three hospitals in Pimpri-Chinchwad city - Aditya Birla Hospital, Star Multispecialty and D Y Patil hospital - have been served a show-cause notice for overcharging exorbitant rates for treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease. The notice says that the hospitals need to respond with a 'satisfactory justification' for the excessive amount of bills issued.
The show-cause notices have been issued by Income Tax Joint Commissioner N Ashok Babu who has been appointed on a special committee formed by the Divisional Commissioner for inspection of hospital bills issued to patients admitted for COVID-19 treatment.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has formed a special cell for inspection of hospitals which have reserved beds for treating COVID-19 patients in the city. There are about 25 to 30 hospitals, including government and private, which are providing treatment to COVID-patients. While the government hospitals provide free treatment to patients, private hospitals are charging exorbitantly. Some hospitals have even refused to enrol themselves under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MPJAY) under which the treatment expenses incurred by the patient are reimbursed by the government to the hospital.
From the last few days, citizens and elected representatives had filed complaints about several hospitals issuing inflated bills to patients on the pretext of providing certain medicines or treatment. Income Tax department officer, heading the committee recently inspected Aditya Birla Hospital in Chinchwad, DY Patil Hospital, City Care Hospital and Star Multispecialty Hospital, all three located in Pimpri.
The hospitals are expected to charge Rs 4,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs 9,000 for admitting patients, taking an x-ray and for medicine expenses excluding the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kit.
The committee headed by N Ashok Babu found that the four hospitals in Pimpri-Chinchwad had charged patients exorbitantly for several items against the government directive. The show-cause notice has asked them to provide a satisfactory reply and why penal action should not be taken against the hospital for violating norms.