Bengal Commission

Kolkata, May 30: The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has taken a firm stance on the right of patients to receive their test reports from diagnostic centers and hospitals, regardless of payment issues with insurance companies.

The commission’s chairperson addressed a complaint filed against a diagnostic center in Lake Town, West Bengal, where a patient was denied test results due to non-payment by the insurance company associated with the voucher used for the tests.

The patient received a voucher worth Rs 3,000 as a gift for purchasing a health insurance policy from a private insurance company. The voucher could be redeemed at various healthcare facilities, including the diagnostic center in Lake Town. The patient underwent several pathological and radiological tests using the voucher.

However, when the patient requested the test reports, the diagnostic center refused to provide them, prompting the patient to approach the police and file a complaint with the commission. The center claimed that they hadn’t received payment from the insurance company, which led to their decision to withhold the reports. During the commission’s hearing, the center expressed willingness to hand over the reports once the insurance company paid them.

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The commission, led by retired justice Ashim Banerjee, rejected the center’s argument and asserted that test results cannot be withheld from patients based on non-payment by insurance companies.

They directed the center to immediately email the reports to the patient. Banerjee emphasized that diagnostic centers and hospitals should not deny test results to patients on the grounds of pending payment by insurance companies. The only valid reason for a refusal would be if the patient had not paid for the services rendered.

Banerjee clarified that in this case, the patient had provided a valid voucher accepted by the center. Subsequently, when the center did not receive payment from the insurance company, they unjustifiably withheld the test results. The commission’s decision applies to all diagnostic centers and hospitals conducting diagnostic tests, emphasizing the importance of providing timely reports to patients.

Healthcare professionals have observed a growing trend of patients using vouchers instead of direct payment for tests. While this practice may simplify the payment process, it is crucial for diagnostic centers and hospitals to fulfill their obligations to patients and not withhold essential test results due to payment-related issues.

The commission’s ruling serves as a reminder to healthcare providers that patients’ rights should be upheld, regardless of financial matters between insurance companies and healthcare facilities. Transparency and promptness in delivering test reports are vital to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of patients seeking medical services.