Bombay Hospital Ordered To Compensate Patient for Illegal Surcharge on Drugs
Bombay Hospital, which has a capacity of more than 800 beds and is also a post-graduate teaching institute, was told its practice of  overcharging on medicines sold to a patient while being treated at its main operation theatre was an unfair practice. 
 
The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum not only told the premier south Mumbai-based hospital to refund the 20% surcharge it levied on medicines sold to patient Usha Kedia for her orthopaedic surgery, but also granted Ms Kedia compensation for mental agony and cost of litigation. 
 
Complainant Ms Kedia had a surgery performed on her on 25 September 2014, a day after she was admitted, and was discharged on 27 September 2014. The Consumer Forum delivered its order on 22 May 2019.
 
The total bill for Ms Kedia came to Rs2,10,627, which she paid, and submitted the same to the National Insurance Co Ltd. The company, however, reimbursed only Rs1,66,000 and declined to pay surcharge on medicines of Rs32,570. On other claims, the National Insurance Co also declined to pay Rs19,127 on expenses including pre and post-operative expenditure, and others including excess doctor fees, excess room rent, and other items. 
 
In all, Ms Kedia was short by Rs51,697. 
 
In case of Bombay Hospital, they had levied a 20% surcharge on medicines they procured for the main operation theatre, from a store set up nearby specifically to cater to the operation theatre. The Hospital cited cost of staff and other overheads among reasons for the surcharge. Its own main medicines outlet doesn’t impose any surcharge.
 
The Hospital went a step further, terming the complaint as an attempt to “tarnish the clean image and bring disrepute to its good name, and to extract money.” The complaint should be dismissed and costs recovered from the complainant, the Hospital contended in its defence. 
 
The Consumer Forum dismissed the hospital’s contention. The Hospital has “miserably failed to justify that levy of surcharge as permitted by law and is illegitimate,” the Forum ruled.
 
Likewise, the insurance company couldn’t cite any law that enabled it not to reimburse the expenses it rejected.
 
The Forum, on its own, ordered that the complainant Ms Kedia be paid a compensation of Rs7,500 and costs of Rs5,000 each by hospital and the insurance company, totalling Rs25,000. 
 
Since the case was filed on 21 December 2015, an interest of 9% per annum would be paid to Ms Kedia on Rs32,570 to be paid by Bombay Hospital and Rs19,127 by the insurance company. 
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COMMENTS

JAYENDRA PANDYA

2 weeks ago

the penalty imposed is minuscule and is not commensurate with the type of their wrong doing and size of their operations. The compensation may be small but the penalty should be such that they do not repeat the malpractice.

These private hospitals do not permit the patient or their relatives to buy medicines from outside in spite of Govt. orders. They threaten, induce panic and black-mail by stating that 'if anything goes wrong we shall not be responsible". Their purchase department always seek medicines and surgical products with highest margins. In addition, they are seeking lowest price and very high consumer price (MRP). Poor patient are not aware if the medicines and surgical products mentioned in the bills were actually used for the patient. They take it at face value and make payment in advance so they are skinned without their knowledge.

Like IRDA, there ought to be an authority or regulatory body to ensure fair practices in healthcare sector. This is required especially in wake of the fact that private healthcare organization are mushrooming without any controls.

Shankar g

2 weeks ago

The law of land should prevail in such a way to compensate all the users of the Hospital from that year, by ordering the Hospital to make the refund to all those who have been billed +20% , within one month, which shall deter such loot activities in future.

REPLY

gcmbinty

In Reply to Shankar g 2 weeks ago

Support your contention of compensation to complainants on the basis of hospital purchases of consumables hospital equipment with MRP inclusive of all the taxes. In mind must be that the margins of printed MRP on all pharmaceutical products including the equipment and implements are extremely high which jolly well cover the hospital charges for any procedure. There is absolutely no reason for charging additional cess or the costs to hospital.

gcmbinty

2 weeks ago

This is how the consumer courts should treat the private hospitals for overcharging, charging more than the MRP, the price which is already very high .

RBI Removes Charges on RTGS and NEFT Transactions; Asks Banks to Pass on Benefits to Customers
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to do away with its charges levied on transactions processed in the real time gross settlement system (RTGS) and national electronic funds transfer (NEFT) systems. The Central bank has also asked banks to pass the benefits to their customers who use RTGS and NEFT for payment transactions.
 
In its statement on "Developmental and Regulatory Policies", RBI says, it levies minimum charges on banks for transactions routed through RTGS, which is used for large-value instantaneous fund transfers and NEFT for other payment transfers.
 
"In order to provide an impetus to digital funds movement, it has been decided to do away with the charges levied by the Reserve Bank for transactions processed in the RTGS and NEFT systems," it says.
 
At present, State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest state-run lender, charges Re1 to Rs5 for funds transfer through NEFT and Rs5 to Rs50 for transactions carried out via RTGS. For RTGS, the value is required to be Rs2 lakh and more.
 
For NEFT, RBI had stipulated maximum charge per transaction of Rs2.50 for up to Rs10,000, Rs5 for between Rs10,001 and Rs1 lakh, Rs15 for between Rs1 lakh and Rs2 lakh and Rs25 for transaction above Rs2 lakh, excluding tax, if any.

For RTGS transaction, RBI stipulated maximum charges per transaction of Rs25 for between Rs2 lakh and Rs5 lakh and Rs50 for transactions of over Rs5 lakh, excluding tax. All these charges are now removed by the central bank.

Committee to Review ATM Fee Structure
While the usage of automated teller machines (ATMs) is increasing there have been persistent demand to reduce charged levied on ATM transactions and fees. RBI says, it has decided to set up a Committee involving all stakeholders, under the chairmanship of the chief executive (CEO) of  Indian Banks' Association (IBA), to examine the entire gamut of ATM charges and fees. The Committee is expected to submit its recommendations within two months of its first meeting and composition and terms of reference of the Committee will be issued within a week, RBI says.
 
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COMMENTS

Aditya G

3 weeks ago

Five bucks to tranfer, say 10,000 bucks, is not a big deal. What's RBI smoking?

It's far better than wasting 20 minutes to drive to a branch, 10 minutes to write a cheque, 5 minutes to deposit it, 20 minutes to drive back. In that time, I could watch one episode of Game of Thrones AND do an RTGS transfer.

Ultimately, banks will have to seek ways to make money. It's a business as much as any other. I don't mind paying fees for good & essential services. Removing these charges will means banks will have to look elsewhere to make money and pay staff. I'm not sure if this is a good move on RBI. We're moving into the digital economy and the way to incentivise this is to dis-incentivise paper or increase paper charges. Hey, we need trees!

PRAMOD DAS

3 weeks ago

Incentives for a digital financial ecosystem

File Complaints in Time: Delay Can Damage Your Cause
Many people crib about bad products and services but procrastinate when it comes to filing a formal complaint, especially if the company refuses to redress the grievance and it needs to be escalated to a consumer forum or other appropriate authority.
 
Often, consumers end up filing complaints after the due date and expect courts or consumer forums to condone the delay. People must...
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