Hospitals found collecting billions in service chargesPrivate hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are estimated to have raked in Rs2-2.5 billion in illegal service charges alone in the last fiscal year, the Department of Supplies Management said.
Private hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are estimated to have raked in Rs2-2.5 billion in illegal service charges alone in the last fiscal year, the Department of Supplies Management said. The department has written to the Metropolitan Police Circle, Teku recommending action against six hospitals it found collecting fees unlawfully.
The Nepal Institute of Neurology and Allied Sciences in Bansbari, Grande International Hospital on Tokha Road, Ishan Children’s Nursing and Maternity Home in Basundhara, Vayodha Hospital in Balkhu, Norvic International Hospital and College and B&B Hospital in Lalitpur were revealed to be overcharging patients. They had been collecting a service charge of up to 13 percent on top of value added tax and health service tax.
These six hospitals have been charging extra fees under different headings such as bed service charge, nursing service charge, surgical fee, administrative charge and card charge, among others. “Some of these hospitals were found to have collected up to Rs600,000 as service charge from a single patient,” said Director General Kumar Prasad Dahal of the department.
In addition, the hospitals have been found to be violating government rules requiring them to provide free hospital beds to patients from low income groups and underprivileged communities.
The law requires hospitals to provide 10 percent of the total number of beds without charge to the indigent. The government has categorised health and education related businesses under the essential service sector.
Meanwhile, the department said it had also started probing schools which have been charging exorbitant fees from students. A recent investigation of Rato Bangla, Chandbagh, Pathshala, Premier and other schools revealed that they had been charging up to Rs125,000 as monthly fee per student.
Dahal said these schools had been collecting up to Rs4,000 as library charge, Rs5,000 as computer charge and Rs25,000 as maintenance charge annually.
As per government rules, academic institutions are allowed to collect annual services charges amounting up to double the monthly fee. They also have to get the go-ahead from the authorities concerned before collecting additional service charges.
In addition, academic institutions are required to set aside 10 percent of their total seats for students from low income groups or underprivileged communities.
“However, most of the schools have not been meeting these requirements,” Dahal said.
Meanwhile, the department has shut down 74 business firms on the charge of being involved in misconduct following a market inspection of 3,267 business firms between mid-July and December-end.
Similarly, the department has initiated legal proceedings against six hospitals, four trading companies and 16 retail outlets on Durbar Marg on the charge of fraud.