Private Hospitals Charge ‘Discharge Cost’ To Patients

Many private hospitals in the district, which had been charging high fees on various grounds, have now started charging even for discharging patients.
For an instance, Sparsha Hospital, Birgunj had charged Shyam Jalan, a patient, Rs. 215,000 for providing health services for a week, excluding the cost of medicines.
Similarly, Tek Narayan Khatiwada had to pay Rs. 39,000 for oxygen support provided for three days at Prabhu Hospital.
While issues like these where hospitals have been charging sky-high prices for basic services were drawing serious attention, it has been found that Terai Hospital and Research Centre, Birgunj charges Rs. 1,000 under the heading ‘discharge cost’.
Many patients have been affected as the hospitals have been taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis by charging exorbitant amounts, overlooking the cost of services as specified by the Ministry of Health and Population.
The private hospitals in the area have been benefitting from the pandemic as the Birgunj Metropolitan City has not framed the standards of the services to be provided by the hospitals.
“As we have been receiving many complaints about private hospitals overcharging the patients for their services, we have been inspecting the private hospitals,” said Pitambar Ghimire, Chief District Officer of Parsa.
He added that the Parsa District Administration Office was planning to warn the directors of the private hospitals to stop charging sky-high amounts on unnecessary headings on Tuesday.
“Any hospital fleecing patients by taking advantage of the ongoing crisis will be punished as per the law,” CDO Ghimire said. Similarly, Bijaya Kumar Sarawagi, Mayor of BMC, also said that serious action would be taken against hospitals charging unnecessarily high costs.
Issuing a press statement on Wednesday, Mayor Sarawagi said, “Hospitals unreasonably charging high rates were warned for now and they would be punished if they continued flouting rules and order.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Pramod Saraf, a medical doctor at National Medical College, said, “It is the first time I have heard a hospital charging money for discharging patients.” “Hospitals do include costs of various services like admission and other medical tests in their bills. However, I am unaware of discharge cost,” Dr. Saraf said.