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Private hospitals bleed Covid patients in Bengaluru, throw BBMP rates to the winds

Private hospitals bleed Covid patients in Bengaluru, throw BBMP rates to the winds
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Private hospitals bleed Covid patients in Bengaluru, throw BBMP rates to the winds

Highlights

While the frantic search for ICU/ICU ventilator beds continues, the issue of the private hospitals overcharging Covid patients has been ignored by the government.

While the frantic search for ICU/ICU ventilator beds continues, the issue of the private hospitals overcharging Covid patients has been ignored by the government.

On Tuesday, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) issued a notification fixing rates for the Covid treatment, beyond which the private hospitals cannot charge the patients.

But as proof of how private hospitals are bleeding people in the name of Covid treatment, the copy of a bill issued by a private hospital showed that the patient admitted in the ICU ward was charged more Rs 13 lakh.

The patient, Mohammad Sarfaraz (name changed) was given the HDU bed at a private hospital. The patient had to pay Rs 3,85,000 for the entire treatment.

Namit Dubey (name changed) had been in a private hospital for 10 days last month. When he was admitted to the hospital, he had an oxygen saturation level at 98 percent. In spite of that, he was put on oxygen. The patient ended up paying around Rs 3 lakh out of which Rs 14,000 was charged for Covid bio-medical waste discharges.

Early this month Sujata was looking frantically for ICU ventilator beds for her father diagnosed with Covid. She told The Hans India that a private hospital in Marathahalli asked for Rs 50,000/ day. "This was my experience with a few more hospitals in Bengaluru. Ultimately, I gave up. Since my entire family was down with Covid we could not move out of our houses," she added. Some of the private hospitals were charging between Rs 75,000/ day to Rs 1 lakh/day for oxygen beds. In one of the cases, the hospital gave the bill to the patient's family without its name on the header.

One would wonder that though the capping already existed the BBMP woke up late to the issues which were being highlighted through media reports and social media posts.

Hospitals prescribing 2-DG drugs

In another unsettling incident, a Covid patient with 70% damaged lung admitted to a private hospital was prescribed 2-DG drugs, a day after its launch. The drug will be made available to the private hospitals only in June. The hospital in its prescription said that since the drug was not available in the market it was suggested to be procured from outside. Deputy Drugs Controller Suresh Kempaiah said that he was aware of the instances where hospitals prescribed the 2 DG drug and the officials were told to create awareness of its exact availability.

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