Tirupati: Flying squads act tough on private hospitals

Flying squad members at Chandramohan’s Nursing home in Madanapalle on Thursday
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Flying squad members at Chandramohan’s Nursing home in Madanapalle on Thursday

Highlights

Tirupati: At last the government is acting tough on private hospitals which are fleecing the Covid patients to extract as much money as possible from...

Tirupati: At last the government is acting tough on private hospitals which are fleecing the Covid patients to extract as much money as possible from them by resorting to unethical practices.

Following the government's dictum in this regard, Chittoor District Collector M Hari Narayanan has appointed flying squads to curb unethical practices and overcharging of Covid patients in private hospitals.

These flying squads have been inspecting the private hospitals one by one meticulously and finding several discrepancies in the treatment protocols and collection of fees from the patients. Though the overall outcome of such inspections could not be ascertained at this stage and how long the raids will continue to check the malpractices, for now, they have provided some solace to the Covid patients in this hour of grief.

The flying squads have so far raided at least three major private hospitals and arrested the nodal officer of Sri Ramadevi Hospital in Tirupati who is also part of its management team. The squads also recommended criminal proceedings against Sankalpa super speciality hospital in Tirupati and Chandramohan's Nursing home in Madanapalle.

Among other things, these flying squads have identified some commonalities in all the hospitals they inspected. While the government has capped charges for Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals, they have been collecting huge amounts of money ignoring the guidelines in this regard. Another major violation was that they are not admitting Aarogyasri card-holders saying that the scheme will not apply to Covid treatment.

Patients in their anxiety and helpless situation are taking admission on payment of whatever the fees they insist. They are reportedly charging up to Rs 4,500 for each dose of Remdesivir injection instead of the prescribed Rs 2,500. Irregularities were also found in showing the available stock of these injections and their usage.

Also, patients are asked to pay more than the prescribed fee for undergoing Rapid-Antigen tests. The flying squad identified that Sankalpa hospital in Tirupati has provided 27 more beds than the approved bed strength and charging patients. It has also been charging almost double the amount for CT chest scan.

Attendant of a patient commented that if the government continues to act tough on the private hospitals, it will be of great help to the patients who are being caught in a helpless situation after getting infected with the virus. The Collector appointed nodal officers for every hospital and a dedicated call centre is functioning to address the complaints.

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