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How you can complain against high hospital bills in Dubai

Khaleej Times 2019-07-09 19:35:05

If you feel that your hospital bills have been inflated with unnecessary treatments, you should file a detailed complaint with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). This should be supported with an accurate timeline of events and medical evidence.

As reported by Khaleej Times, in case investigations show bills have been inflated, the hospital will have to bear the costs, a circular issued by the DHA read. Following the report, several readers had written in asking how to lodge a complaint.

"I am delighted to see the positive progress in supporting patients and patient families to avoid paying for the excessive treatment/admissions," said Victoria Zagorsky, a Dubai resident. "Since my father was discharged on January 3 following a three-week hospitalisation which left me with a bill of over Dh120,000, I have been following up with the hospital to find a solution, but without any success.

"Not only was his hospitalisation unwarranted in view of a simple surgery, many of the items on the bill are not the actual medicines, doctor consultations, lab or procedures which my father received. As we sought further information in relation to these charges - which are in the range of at least Dh30,000 - the hospital declined to cooperate."

Victoria said it is not clear how to file a complaint and what steps are needed to be taken by the patient to protect their rights. "Over the course of the last six months as I have been dealing with this situation, I found the lack of transparency and communication channels to be very difficult issues. I am confident that the new circular will be of a great help to many families in Dubai who ended up in a similarly difficult situation," she said.

Deepa Verma faced a similar situation when she fell ill last month. "I had just come back from a vacation and fell ill with severe cough, cold and fever," she said.

According to Deepa, she went to a doctor for a consultation but was directed to do a battery of tests. "I did some of them, but then I always consult two doctors. The second doctor just prescribed medicines based on my symptoms without ordering unnecessary tests," said Deepa. She added that she later found the tests were not needed.

The DHA has already asked healthcare providers not to carry out unnecessary treatments and lab tests, or prescribe unnecessary medicines to patients and prolong treatments, after a number of complaints were raised.

According to the circular, there have been an increasing number of member/payer complaints against providers about extended and unnecessary in-patient admissions, as well as medical treatments that include laboratory, diagnostic and any other services.

In addition, there is an equally increasing number of complaints from providers against payers about not settling claims for various reasons, said the circular.

In an exclusive interview, Saleh Al Hashimi, CEO of the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DHIC), had earlier told Khaleej Times that payers have the right to audit the bill. "They can ask or reject the bill even if the service has been rendered."

Sometimes, the patients ask for more tests, thinking these are better for them, he added. "In some cases, doctors are extra careful."

How to file a complaint

>Insured members may raise any concerns or complaints via the iPROMeS portal on the ISAHD website (www.isahd.ae)

>They can email the authority on ISAHD@dha.gov.ae

>Staff members concerned about unethical practices at their health facility can send an email, too

>The complaint must have a detailed explanation of the scenario and an accurate timeline of events, in addition to medical evidence supporting the claim

>Once sufficient evidence is compiled as deemed fit, it will be raised to a medical committee appointed by the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation

>The committee will investigate and pronounce a decision.

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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