Private hospitals in Telangana handover 50 per cent COVID beds to govt

Friday, August 14th, 2020, 07:02:21 AM IST

Private hospitals in Telangana on Thursday agreed to handover 50 per cent of their beds to the state government for treatment of Covid patients as per the tariff fixed by it.

Hours after the Telangana High Court directed the government to follow the Delhi model where the government took over the beds in private hospitals, the managements of corporate hospitals came forward to hand over the beds.

The decision was announced after Health Minister Eatala Rajender met a delegation of the Super Specialty Hospital Association in the evening.

The health department will allot these beds to patients through a special app and treatment will be provided as per the rates fixed by the department.

The minister thanked the hospitals which came forward to handover 50 per cent beds to the government. He asked the managements of these hospitals to meet Director of Public Health Srinivas Rao on Friday to work out the modalities for treatment of the patients.

Earlier, the High Court while hearing various petitions relating to COVID wanted to know from the government as to what action it had taken against the private hospitals not following its orders with regard to treatment charges.

The court was informed by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar that complaints were received against 50 private hospitals. Out of 46 hospitals who were served show cause notices, 16 submitted their replies.

Rajender said the government had been urging the private hospitals to join hands with the government in providing COVID treatment

Though the government had capped the price for treatment of COVID-19 patients, some private hospitals were charging excessive bills. The government had received complaints against these hospitals.

The minister said he had repeatedly appealed to private hospitals to refrain from overcharging during the crisis.

With over 1,000 complaints against private hospitals regarding COVID-19 treatment charges, the minister had directed officials on Monday to prepare plans to take over 50 per cent of beds and to offer treatment as per government terms.

Besides revoking the permission of two private hospitals to treat COVID patients last week, the health department issued show-cause notices to several other hospitals for allegedly fleecing patients.

According to officials, 1,039 complaints were received from people against private hospitals charging exorbitant amounts for COVID-19 treatment.

The state government on June 15 had issued an order announcing the maximum rates chargeable by private hospitals for various services provided by them for COVID-19 treatment. The charges range between Rs 4,000 to Rs 9,000 per day depending on the ward and if ventilator support is provided. However some charges were excluded like those for costly medicines.

The private hospitals, however, were charging much more than the tariff fixed by the government. People also complained that the hospitals collected money without issuing bills or patients were admitted only after Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh was paid in advance. There were also complaints that the hospitals were not accepting insurance policies and credit cards.

The health minister had directed officials to form a committee to look into the response to the show-cause notices, and to take action against erring hospitals.

As per the bulletin issued by the department on Thursday, 118 private hospitals treating COVID patients had a total of 7,879 beds and out of them 3,426 beds were vacant.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, who appeared before the High Court through video conferencing, said the state ramped up the number of daily tests and was taking various measures to tackle the situation.

The court expressed its satisfaction over the measures taken by the government.