Stop encashing Covid-19, Eatala warns pvt hospitals

File photo of Health Minister Eatala Rajender

Hyderabad: The State government on Saturday took a serious view of the large number of complaints against private hospitals from Covid-19 patients and their relatives in Hyderabad and districts.

In a stern warning, Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Saturday said the government would not hesitate to take tough measures on private hospitals that indulge in ‘encashing’ the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The government has received many complaints against private hospitals that were treating Covid-19 patients, Rajender said while directing the health department to constitute a high-level committee comprising senior health officials to look into each and every complaint.

“We have received many complaints on creating artificial shortage of beds, demanding Rs 3-4 lakh as advance, charging Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per day for treatment, not releasing the body unless medical bills are cleared, treating asymptomatic cases and inflating their medical bills and dumping patients on government hospitals once their condition turn serious,” Rajender said at a meeting on private hospitals.

He directed health officials to ensure that private hospitals follow government fixed-rates and share daily status on availability of beds. “They must shun the practice of inflating medical bills and burdening Covid-19 patients on the pretext of PPE Kits, medicines, ICU charges and salaries for doctors and other healthcare workers,” he said.

There was a need for private hospitals to stop seeing the present situation as a ‘profit motive’ and take a more humane approach as part of the corporate social responsibility. “We are receiving complaints that private hospitals are charging ten times more than the normal rates, which is not fair,” Rajender said.

The Minister assured them that the government will work towards addressing difficulties faced by private hospitals. “We will address your concerns but you must ensure that patients are not burdened by inflated medical bills,” Rajender added.

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