Hospital pays dearly for not providing the bill

  • Posted on: June 30, 2017

Law clearly states that a hospital is supposed to furnish bill for each and every service rendered to the patient; including the medicines prescribed and bought from its pharmacy. What happens when it fails to do so? They pay through their nose, as this case will demonstrate.

Champa Lal was suffering from prolonged angina and was admitted to Narayana multi-specialty hospital. Luckily, his case was not serious and was discharged after three days. However, that was not the end of his relationship with the hospital. Despite several requests, the hospital did not provide bill for the money he deposited with them for treatment. He had nowhere else but the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chhattisgarh to go. He approached the Commission and pleaded that the hospital be booked for their apparent mischief of not providing the bill in spite of receiving the treatment fees. It was also alleged that the hospital allowed the patient to be discharged only after he paid an extra amount of fifty thousand rupees, for which they did not even provide the bill. Is it not intimidation, questioned Champa Lal while seeking justice and compensation for this troubles.

The hospital on its part was quite defiant, to say the least. It was stated that they did not coerce the patient to make the payment and the invoices of the payments made by the patient were duly provided. It was further stated, again defiantly, that the payments are accepted only after a receipt for same is generated. Moreover, since the dispute is of civil in nature, hence it does not fall under the purview of Consumer Commission. The patient has ulterior motives and therefore he has approached the Commission making false allegations.

It only took a few minutes for the Commission to find out what was true and what was not. At the outset, it was observed that the hospital had taken fees from the patient and hence, it rendered the hospital a service provider and the patient a consumer. It was further observed that the hospital’s final bill had an inclusion of fifty thousand rupees but the seal and signature of relevant authorities was missing. Moreover, there was no mention of the procedure for which the said amount was collected from the patient. Finally, the Commission noted that the hospital failed to prove that the bill for fifty thousand rupees was indeed provided to the patient.

This, the Commission ruled, was unfair trade practice and deficiency in service, and ordered the hospital to refund fifty thousand rupees along with a hefty compensation.

Source:Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 22nd May, 2017