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Hyderabad hospitals forced to refund Rs 1.6 cr for overcharging patients

Hyderabad: Information availed through Right to Information (RTI) revealed that a total of 44 private hospitals were ordered by the Telangana Public Health and Family Welfare Department to refund the money they charged to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the state health department intervened, many private hospitals returned the money to the patients and their families.

The information was received in response to an RTI filed by Secunderabad-based RTI activist Robin Zaccheus.

According to the RTI response received, as of June 22, 2021, a total of Rs 1,61,22,484 was returned to the patients. Four hospitals in the city returned more than 10 lakh each.

Omni Hospital situated in Kukatpally returned the highest sum of Rs 27.41 lakh. TX Hospital in Uppal returned Rs 10.85 lakh and Medicover Hospital in Hi-tech City returned 10.82 lakh, marking is the second and third highest respectively. Century Hospital returned Rs 10 lakh.

Likewise, eight hospitals in Hyderabad returned from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh after they were pulled up by the state health department for overcharging. Prathima Hospital in Kukatpally, Ankura Hospital in LB Nagar, Diya Hospital in LB Nagar, Medicover Hospital located near Secretariat, N Care Hospital in RC Puram, Care Hospital in Hitech city, Hyderabad Nursing Home in Basheerbagh and Sunshine Hospital in Gachibowli made it to this category.

TX Hospital of Kachiguda branch and Archana Hospital in Miyapur returned Rs 3.99 lakh each while Ankura Hospital in Narapally returned Rs 3.85 lakh to its patients. Lotus Hospital in Lakadikapul and Supraja Hospitals in Nagole returned Rs 3.41 lakh and Rs 3.2 lakh respectively.

TNM reported that on June 2, 2021, Dr G Srinivas Rao, the head of the Telangana Public Health and Family Welfare Department told the Telangana high court that the department had recovered Rs 3 crore from the private hospital for overcharging. However, his quoted amount does not match the RTI reply.

The RTI reply revealed that only Rs 1.61 crore has been recovered until June 22, 2021.

On the same day, Dr G Srinivas Rao told the high court that the department had received 174 complaints regarding overcharging by private hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and 139 show-cause notices were sent. He further said that the licenses of 72 hospitals were terminated due to unsatisfactory replies.

However, the RTI reply does not carry any of the above information.