Despite law, pvt hospitals refuse to display rate charts

Despite law, pvt hospitals refuse to display rate charts

Despite law, pvt hospitals refuse to display rate charts

The District Health Officer (DHO) would have believe that most medical establishments in Bengaluru are displaying rate charts as mandated by the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2009, but most hospitals and clinics are not doing so in reality. 

As per the law, hospitals must display the rates for consultation, diagnosis, treatment, reports, services and other procedures and room rent or bed charges for patients’ convenience. The information must be displayed at a conspicuous place or issued in the form of a brochure if patients ask for it. 

But when Deccan Herald randomly visited some private multi-speciality hospitals in the City, none of them had the rate charts on display. They in fact told this reporter they had no concept of rate charts and cannot produce the same to a patient. 

Hospitals cite different reasons for not displaying the rate charts, according to a senior official in the department of health and family welfare. “For example, in some cases, they do not wish to provide the information for fear of losing out on patients,” the official said. In addition, finding loopholes in the Act, they argue that each patient needs “tailor-made” treatment based on individual complications.

“For surgical procedures, hospitals will display the rate charts. But for chronic illnesses and other diseases, they may not do so. They say estimating the charges is impossible,” the official added. 

But Dr C Yogananda Reddy, president, Indian Medical Association, insists that most hospitals do display how much they charge for treatment. “We regularly ask hospitals associated with us to display the information. Registrations are renewed every three years. If hospitals don’t follow the norms, that will amount to quackery,” he added. 

Dr M Rajini, DHO, Bengaluru Urban, asserts that hospitals that do not display the rate charts will not be given licence when they come for registration. 

“Multi-speciality hospitals perform almost 14,000 procedures. They also offer additional facilities such as physiotherapy based on individual needs. For instance, if a caesarean section delivery is performed and later there are complications to the mother or the child, the bill may go up. Such details have not been made clear in the Act,” she explained. 

When officials go for inspection following complaints, hospitals produce rate charts in the form of brochures and say they would provide them to patients on request.

Dr Rajini further said that the department had served notices on 260 establishments so far. But when this reporter asked for the list of the establishments, she said she had “other work to do”. She gave the names of only 10 small clinics and nothing about multi-speciality hospitals.