Hyderabad: A local consumer court on February 22 ordered Sunshine Hospitals, a unit of Sarvejana Healthcare to pay a refund of Rs 8,73,943 for exorbitantly charging a Kulsumpura resident for COVID-19 treatment.
Qurratul Ayn Fatima, a forty-year-old housewife approached the district consumer disputes redressal commission, for a refund of Rs 14,38,000 claiming that the hospital overcharged for the COVID-19 treatment of her deceased husband Mohd Kalimuddin.
The district consumer disputes redressal commission, Hyderabad – 3, ruled in the favour of Qurratul Ayn Fatima and asked the Hospital to pay a refund of Rs 8,73,943 with interest along with Rs 10,000 as compensation for causing mental agony and trauma.
“There has never been an occasion for any negligence or deficiency in treatment rendered by the hospital,” the advocates for the hospital told the court.
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“Now making absurd accusations against the hospital is uncalled for. The complainant is unreasonable and untenable and without any basis,” they added.
The court order said that according to G.O.Rt.No.248, the hospital has to refund a total of Rs 8,73,943 collected as lab charges, life-supporting charges, medical utility charges and food and beverages charges within 45 days from February 22.
According to the said GO private hospitals are allowed to collect Rs 4,000 per day towards charges for routine ward + isolation.
The charges for ICU without ventilator or isolation were prescribed Rs 7,500 and Rs 9,000 was prescribed towards charges for ICU with ventilator and tests/investigations.
No hospital can collect abnormal charges from the patients exploiting the unfortunate pandemic situation.
The court said, the High Court of Telangana slammed the state government on June 1, 2022 for failing to set a fee cap for private institutions treating COVID-19 patients in the state and observed that people have been mortgaging gold to pay bills.
The court recalled that the Chief Justice of Telangana had suggested that hospitals should be compelled to return the excessive fees or face having their licences revoked.
“The hospital has collected the amount from the complainant exorbitantly. This act clearly shows the deficiency in services on the part of the opposite parties,” observed the court.