Nirgunj, 23 May: Shyam Jalan, a resident from Adarshanagar area in Birgunj, paid Rs. 215,000 to the Sparsa Hospital for the treatment of his father within a week of admitting him there.
“They charged an exorbitant fee for their services, but they couldn’t save my father,” said Jalan.Likewise, Tek Narayan Khatiwada, a resident from Birgunj 6 No. Gate, informed that he was also overcharged for the health services.
“I admitted my wife Anjana Kumari Rijal at Prabhu Hospital. In three days, the hospital charged Rs. 81,250. To my surprise, the bill for oxygen alone was Rs. 39,000,” said Khatiwada.In Birgunj, a large oxygen cylinder costs Rs. 530, and doctors state that under any circumstances no more than three such cylinders are needed for Corvid-positive patients in a day.
Since Adhikari couldn’t afford the sky-high fee, he discharged his wife and is now taking care of her at his own home. Now, the Green City Adarshanagar Community Police Service Centre has managed oxygen to Anjana for free.
Dr. Pramod Sharaf, medical director of National Medical College, informed that they were charging Rs. 15,000 a day in line with the charges fixed by the Nepal government for a ventilator and that under that provision, they also provide oxygen and food to the patients.
Nevertheless, locals and civil activists have argued that the tendency of the hospitals to overcharge have left them stressed because of financial burden amid the dire situation caused by the resurging pandemic. The victims and activists have also sought the attention of the authorities – to no avail.
However, the government authorities informed that they have started taking steps to tame the unruly behavior of the hospitals.
The Parsa District Administration has decided to inspect private hospitals following several complaints that the COVID-19 patients alongside people suffering from different health problems were being overcharged.
The District Crisis Management Committee (DCMC) of the district has been handed over the responsibility of regulating the hospitals.
“Public have been complaining that private hospitals were overcharging patients for their services. This is why we have decided to inspect the hospitals,” said Pitambar Ghimire, chief district officer of Parsa and the chairman at DCMC.
There are around 25 private hospitals operating across the district. Concerned authorities argued that there had been no monitoring of the hospitals, which is why they had been overcharging the patients.
“There have been neither standards nor regulations for the private hospitals, because of which they have been charging fees for the services as per their wish,” said Arun Kumar Mahato, chief of Birgunj Metropolitan City’s health division.