Heavy price for improper billing!

  • Posted on: June 11, 2020

Billing issues continue to be the bone of contention between patients and hospitals. Hospitals feel that patients usually crib when paying the bills, while patients feel that they are overcharged.

While such issues could continue in future too, one thing is crystal clear that the hospitals have to furnish a proper bill – in which all the charges under appropriate headings are clearly mentioned. Not doing so is inferred as unfair trade practice, as this hospital discovered.

Debashish was admitted in the hospital for prostate relate ailments. He had paid the surgeon and anesthetist their fees while he was still admitted.

At the time of discharge, the hospital furnished a final bill which did not include the fees collected by the doctors. Debashish was given a separate receipt from the hospital’s cash counter. The insurance company reimbursed the amount as mentioned in the final bill, which did not include the doctors’ fees.

Despite repeated requests, the hospital did nothing to furnish a bill that included doctors’ fees. Unhappy with this lackadaisical approach, Debashish sued the hospital and claimed compensation.

The Commission too perhaps was not happy with hospital’s approach as it was observed that the final bill did not show the charges collected by the surgeon and anesthetist, though repeated requests were made for same. It was a case of ‘evading responsibility, accountability and another case which reflected unfair practice in healthcare industry’, observed the Commission.

The hospital was held negligent, asked to reimburse the fees collected by doctors and also ordered to pay compensation!

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 5th March, 2020.