Minister intervenes to resolve dispute over billing of COVID-19 patient


Following allegations by the family of a deceased COVID-19 patient that a private hospital had not only charged “exorbitantly” but was also not handing over the body till the bill is cleared, Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar intervened and resolved the issue on Friday.

The family of Rajasthan-based Bhimaram Patel alleged that the patient who died at Manipal Hospitals in Jayanagar on December 23 had been billed ₹44 lakh for 40 days. The hospital had refused to hand over the body till all the bills were cleared, the family alleged.

A media statement from the Minister’s office stated that he contacted the hospital management about the case and got bills amounting to nearly ₹10 lakh waived off. The remaining was paid partly through insurance and by the family. The body was then handed over to the family on Friday, according to the statement.

Charges denied

However, the management of Manipal Hospitals, Jayanagar denied the charges. In a statement, the hospital said the patient had a severe form of COVID-19 and had to be put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) life support.

“Unfortunately, the patient succumbed to the illness after a prolonged course. His COVID-19 status was updated to the health authorities at the time of admission and the family was periodically appraised of the patient’s treatment and his conditi on, including the possible outcomes,” the statement said.

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“As a policy, we do not withhold the body for any reason, including financial, except when there is a requirement by government regulations. The body was released immediately on receiving clearance from BBMP,” the statement added.

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Sagar Biswas

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