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Hello Rahul, Can you take up this matter with the Government IRDA and Medical Council?

Dear Rahul Gandhi, Guess you are busy in fighting for Kanhaiya, JNU and others. Leave them for the time being. I have a very interesting and serious matter which you can fight for.

The people in social media (mainly Whatsapp) make very funny jokes of you. For example, just before writing this article, I received a message and it reads as under – In a conversation with someone, you ask a question – “If Dravid name is there in our national anthem, why not include Tendulkar’s name?” Damn it man; I know you are not that big an idiot. I know that you are an intelligent man and for sure, one day you will be our Prime Minister. (All the best, boss)

Now, let’s come to the topic. Let me give you a brief about the Hospital bed categories. (Because you would not have noticed it when you had been to the hospital, as your secretaries take care of the billing (if at all the hospital raises the bill)).

The corporate hospitals (including those who pass off as charitable (partially), CSR and helping poor etc) have 4-5 categories of beds, namely

  • General Ward (A hall where 8- 10 patients are accommodated within carton like partitions)
  • Semi-Private (A room shared by 2 patients)
  • Private (An exclusive room per patient)
  • Private deluxe (A larger room with a living area, TV, pantry, etc), etc.

Wait, before explaining the issue, let me bring in a correlation to Hotels here. In a hotel, you will have 3-4 categories of beds, namely Executive/Standard (means a small room), Deluxe room (means a big room, may be with extra facilities), Suites (means a large room with living area).

You know that the hotels offer room service (a menu is kept in the room and you can order the food from the room and to the room, right?). Generally, the prices of food delivered to the room will be expensive when compared with the food served at the restaurant, say, for example, a bowl of soup in a room service will cost Rs.150 and the same soup may cost Rs.110 in a restaurant (agree boss?). According to me, it is justified, isn’t it? There will be an extra service by the hotel to deliver the food to the room and hence they have to charge extra for it.

Take the topic now – In a hospital, when a patient is admitted they will conduct several laboratory tests, whether required/not [mostly not required!] (For example, Blood sugar test, kidney profiling, etc.), imaging procedures (ex: X-Ray, CT scan, etc.), surgical procedures (for example General surgery, Heart surgery, etc.)

Similar to the hotel room service, the hospital provide inpatients services. For example, X-ray. An X-ray done for the patient in General ward will cost Rs.250. But an X ray done for the patient in Semi Private Ward will cost Rs.400. Rahul – got the point? It is the same x-ray, there is nothing special for semi private; but the prices are more!

Got confused? Take another example – The surgeon fee for operating heart in a general ward is Rs.20000 and the fee goes up to Rs.45000 if the patient is admitted in Semi Private! It is the same doctor, same Operation Theatre, same surgery, but the only difference is the price?

What do you think about it Rahul? Will a hotel charge different rate for soup as per the category of beds? Say, for executive room, soup costs Rs.150, for deluxe, the soup costs Rs.200? No, isn’t it? So, what, according to you has to be done? (Boss – please don’t say that the prices of soup has to be increased for rich class!)

Don’t worry Sir, I will help you, please take the matter –

  • IRDA – Call the Chief of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and ask them to correct this anomaly. Ask them to send out the directive to all the insurance companies to pay for the procedures at a fixed cost; irrespective of the type of ward chosen by the patients.
  • Government – Call the PM or health minister and also the Medical Council Chief, tell them to direct the hospital to charge a fixed fee for all the procedures, tests, irrespective of the category of beds chosen by the patients.

How will this benefit the society?

This one action (a corrective action, the current practice is ridiculous and criminal. It is nothing but daylight robbery by the corporate hospitals) can benefit the society in many ways.  Some of the benefits are –

  • Insurance claimpay less: By correcting this anomaly, the cost of hospitalization will come down drastically. For example, a heart surgery in Private room will cost Rs.150000 instead of Rs.400000 (the present rate). So, the insurance will pay less and thereby they start making profits.
  • Insurance claim – pay all: Currently since the insurance companies are not making profits, they resort to silly / technical reasons for rejecting as many claims as possible. Probably, the insurance companies can be more lenient (as they make profits by paying less to the hospital) and consumer friendly while processing the claims. This will help the society at large.
  • Service Tax – the government can levy service tax on hospital services. Rahul, when your Government levied tax on hospital services, these Corporate hospitals called it as Misery Tax. Now it is your turn, show them that the cheating can’t go on forever. Let them charge fixed rate and you can ask the government to levy service tax. The tax so collected can be utilized for the purpose of building more healthcare facilities across the country.


Thought for the day

Cheating is a choice not a mistake

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