Coronavirus outbreak: Private lab overcharged for COVID test, says patient

Updated: Apr 16, 2020, 07:41 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Patient posts bill of R6,400 on social media; hospital denies charging extra

The bill that the patient put up on social media
The bill that the patient put up on social media

When Malad resident Asha Kulkarni was handed out a bill of R6,400 for a COVID-19 test at a private lab, she sought an explanation for the additional amount being charged, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had capped the fee at R4,500 while roping in such labs for the tests. However, the L H Hiranandani lab said that the additional charge included registration, consultation and handling fees, but the patient had only paid R5,200.

Kulkarni undergoes dialysis at a centre in Goregaon, which asked her to get the COVID-19 test done as a precautionary measure. "My mother doesn't have any symptoms. We went to L H Hiranandani Hospital on Wednesday afternoon and they gave me a receipt of R6,400 for the test. When I told them that the cost of the test should not be more than R4500, the staff said that it was the hospital charges. I couldn't argue more and paid R6,400," said Avdhut, Kulkarni's son. As per the receipt, the hospital charged R4,500 for the Coronavirus test, R200 for registration, R1,000 for consultation and R700 as handling charges. Activist Kamlakar Shenoy, who raised the issue, said, "The government should seek a justification for such charges from hospitals. Are hospitals supposed to be service-oriented or should they conduct commercial activities without social responsibility?"

Before starting the testing facilities at private labs in March, municipal commissioner, Pravin Pardeshi in a meeting had ordered to cap the cost of the test atR4,500. While Pardeshi was unavailable for comment, a senior civic official said that they would look into the matter. In an official statement, the L H Hiranandani Hospital administration said, "The patient had consulted an infection specialist for which the charges are R1,000. But when the family refused to pay that, the bill was changed. They finally paid R5,200 (COVID-19 test charge of R4,500 + cost of PPE, which is R700). But as they had the earlier bill, they posted that on social media. It is not right to say that the hospital is charging more."

Rs 4.5k
Amout that the COVID test is capped at

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