Mancherial: Private hospitals in the town are allegedly fleecing Covid-19 patients, handing out hefty bills that are much higher than the charges fixed by the government. They are allegedly charging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for treatment of a Covid positive patient per day. As many as 22 nursing homes in the town have been permitted to extend medical services to the infected.
Four persons of a family from neighbouring Maharashtra who tested positive for Covid-19 were admitted to a hospital at IB Chowk. One of them died after undergoing treatment for two days. The hospital charged Rs 8 lakh for the medical services extended to the four patients, shocking the family a week ago.
A 32-year-old patient from Kumram Bheem Asifabad district was forced to shift to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad as he could not afford the daily charge of Rs 70,000 demanded by a hospital near Bellampalli Cross roads. He subsequently succumbed to the virus a few days back.
A patient from the town was charged Rs 7.5 lakh for treatment at a hospital for a period of six days, averaging Rs 1.25 lakh a day. His family members were taken aback by the bill and expressed their inability to pay it. They, however, paid Rs 6.5 lakh after the management of the hospital offered a discount of Rs 1 lakh.
These are sporadic instances that came to fore, indicating how certain private hospitals are ripping off the patents. In reality, a majority of nursing homes are learned to be demanding unreasonable charges. They are citing use of specialists, medical investigations and drugs for abnormal rates. They are flouting a slew of norms set by the government.
According to State government order number 248, hospitals are allowed to charge Rs 2,200 for RT-PCR test, Rs 2,800 for the same test at home, Rs 4,000 for treatment to a Covid-19 patient per day, Rs 7,500 if he or she is admitted in ICU and Rs 9,000 for ventilator to the infected. They should display the fee rates in the hospital.
Meanwhile, some hospitals are also cashing in on the shortage of remdesivir injections, oxygen and influx of patients from Maharashtra. They are extracting between Rs 30,000 to 70,000 for a vial of the drug. The patients are left with no option but to buy the injection to save their lives. They have requested the authorities concerned to conduct raids to check the practice.
When asked, District Medical and Health Officer Dr Sriram said that stern action would be taken against those hospitals who charge more fees than normal costs fixed by the government, if someone raises a complaint. He stated that the government would directly supply remdesivir injections to the hospitals and requested patients not to pay additional prices for it. He added that the nursing homes must exhibit fee structure.