Overcharging by private hospitals: Aggrieved fathers to move SC

Overcharging by private hospitals: Aggrieved fathers to move SC

Two grief-stricken fathers whose children died in big private hospitals that raised hefty bills for dengue treatment, on Thursday demanded a monitoring body for private hospitals that currently operate with barely any oversight.

They said they would also move the Supreme Court with the same plea because the country needs a monitoring body to keep an eye on the malpractices in hospitals.

"I've lost my child, I'm losing my house (because of the loan that he took to sustain his son's treatment) and I'm suffering to get justice (for what happened to my child at Medanta)," said Gopendra Singh Parmar, father of late Sourya Pratap, who was treated for dengue at Medanta - the Medicity, Gurugram.

Parmar said more than 45% of his bill of Rs 16 lakh was for medicines and consumables on which the hospital appeared to have taken huge margins. Laboratory charges accounted for another 9.5% of the bill.

"The government must frame rules to contain the rates charged by hospitals to make them affordable. Otherwise, families will continue to be forced to sell their assets, beg and borrow in their desperation to treat loved ones, just as in my case," he said in a press conference and broke into tears.

"There is a nexus between hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. India needs a monitoring body to keep on eye on the malpractices in hospitals. In my petition I would submit that this state of affairs has only come about due to the absence of effective supervising agency, which regulates hospitals," said Jayant Singh, whose daughter Adya Singh died after she spent 15 days at the Fortis hospital in Gurugram.

The hospital billed Singh nearly Rs 16 lakh for those 15 days. He said when the news on the overbilling hit the headlines a few weeks later, the hospital wanted to buy his silence - a charge that has been denied by the hospital.

The families came out in the open days after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) released a report on the predatory nature of prominent private hospitals in Delhi after analysing four sets of bills. The NPPA didn't disclose the names of three hospitals whereas the Fortis was named by the authority previously.