Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) scrutinised 49 hospital bills and has found that out of those 36 bills given to patients treated for COVID-19 were inflated by the hospitals. The findings were a part of the audit being carried out by the civic body after allegations were made by patients, relatives and several political leaders against private hospitals.
District administration had earlier appealed to private hospitals to refrain from such practices or else action would be initiated against them. Despite this, some private hospitals are issuing inflated bills to patients and hence PMC and District administration has formed 28 teams to verify all hospital bills.
Under this special drive, any private hospital issuing bills of more than Rs 1.5 lakh to patients for COVID-19 treatment, the bill will be verified by an auditor deputed by the local administration in Pune city's case the PMC. For this purpose, 28 teams of audit officers have been formed which will verify bills from 30 hospitals in the city.
The Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MPJAY) has limited the expenses for COVID-19 treatment to Rs 1.5 lakh. Any bill above this amount will be subject to scrutiny. Since there are many technical aspects involved in the billing, four doctors have been included in the team of auditors. Apart from the doctors, there are eight deputy collectors with the auditors to supervise the pre-verification of bills being issued. The audit is being done from August 14.
PMC Commissioner Vikram Kumar said, "The auditors have found out that out of the 49 bills that were scrutinised, 36 were inflated. We have corrected the bills and reduced the amount to Rs 19 lakh. This drive will continue."
Opposition parties Congress, Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Nationalist Congress Party created a ruckus during the PMC General Body meeting on Tuesday over the issue of inflated bills handed over to Covid-19 patients by the private hospitals and medical store owners in the city. Mayor Murlidhar Mohol had then instructed the administration to give information about the action taken against hospitals with regards to inflated bills.