Congress leaders meet heads of corporate hospitals asking them to reduce bills
Headed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail
Hyderabad: Headed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail, a delegation of Congress leaders met the heads of major corporate hospitals in the city requesting them to address the complaints of exorbitant billings.
While appreciating the private hospitals for their contribution in providing quality healthcare to people, the Congress leaders expressed regret that many corporate hospitals were being viewed as 'extortionists' by the common people.
"A majority of people think that corporate hospitals are collecting exorbitant amounts from helpless patients and their families. While this perception may be totally or partially wrong, many corporate hospitals have become notorious for wrong billing and fleecing the patients. As a private hospital, you are free to decide and collect the service charges for the medical services from the patients. However, a majority of patients who are visiting your hospital cannot afford those charges. They are forced to come here as the specialists and medical equipment they need for their treatment are available only in your hospital. They have no choice but to pay exorbitant charges to avail the life-saving services," Abdullah Sohail said in his representation given to heads of corporate hospitals.
The Congress leaders have so far given representations to Dr B Bhaskar Rao, Managing Director of KIMS & Chairman of Telangana Super Speciality Hospitals Association; Sangeeta Reddy of Apollo Hospital; V Chandra Shekhar, Vice President of Virinchi Hospital, Pankaj Yadav of Sunshine Hospital and others.
Abdullah Sohail said that the deteriorating condition of the public health system was forcing the people to visit a private hospital although they could not afford it. According to a sample survey done by some activists in Hyderabad, he said a majority of patients visiting corporate hospitals could not really afford the bill. Therefore, the treatment of an individual in a corporate hospital completely erodes the savings of the entire family. Many are forced to sell off/mortgage jewellery, land or plots or borrow loans at high-interest rates. The corporate hospitals might have saved hundreds of lives, but their hefty bills have ruined thousands of families, he said.
We, therefore, request you to kindly consider revising your tariff for all treatments and tests. The corporate/private hospitals just cannot take advantage of the absence of a proper public health system. They do have a social responsibility and must realise that people get admitted to hospitals in extremely bad health conditions. They face the danger of losing their lives if they fail to get better treatment. But unfortunately, some corporate hospitals are only looking at their profit margins and not the impact it was created on the lives of middle-class or poor people.
The Congress leader also pointed out towards the allegations of lack of transparency in billing by the corporate hospitals and levying of hidden charges. "Common people are not familiar with medical terminology and therefore, they fail to understand the terms used for diagnostics, drugs or other services. They won't even know if they are charged for the same drug or tests twice in the Bill. Similarly, he said the out-patients pay a fixed amount of Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 towards Consultation Fee. This amount remains valid for a week and a patient is not charged if he/she visits again in that week. But when they get admitted in the same hospital, the same Consultant collects huge amount for his/her every visit, he said.
Abdullah Sohail said that the pricing of drugs was much higher for in-patients and out-patients. The nursing charges collected from the patients on a daily basis could not be justified by any means. "Being a private hospital, you have every right to do business and make profits. But for many patients, the billing turns out to be extortion as they fear that their loved one would die if he doesn't pay an amount towards a particular medical procedure suggested by you. There is both fear and anger among the relatives of patients and you won't find a single-family which will be happy at the time of discharge. Each one of them will have a complaint and there is no proper mechanism in corporate hospitals to reply to those complaints," he said in the representation.