A report published in The Times of India today said that several private hospitals are not only reusing disposable items such as catheters, guide wires and balloons, but they are also charging people for it.
A cardiologist told TOI that there can be ground for reusing disposable items to bring the costs down for a patient, but that is not the motivating factor here. On the contrary, private hospitals make a profit of ₹20,000 to ₹30,000 on every procedure. "Not only do they reuse four or five times, patients are also billed afresh for each of these items, helping the hospitals make a profit of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 on each procedure or patient," the cardiologist told the newspaper.
Another cardiologist described charging for reused items as "fraud of the highest order being done in most elite hospitals to push up profits," while urging the government to "investigate and expose."
While government hospitals don't indulge in this fraud since they are not under pressure to make profits, chain hospitals are the worst offenders, TOI reported.
A Health Ministry memo from December, 2016 stated: "The items after one procedure are sterilized and reused and (patients) are charged full amount of these items."
While the Centre has warned of action against healthcare organizations empaneled under CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme), it has done the same against big corporate hospitals that are not under CGHS, the newspaper pointed out.
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