Andhra Pradesh

COVID care facilities under State scanner

Tapping into a widespread fear of COVID-19, several private hospitals are unveiling ‘attractive’ packages under which patients can access ‘high quality medical care and peaceful quarantine’ and a host of other benefits, all for a princely sum.

Such hospitals and COVID care centres working from the premises of affiliated luxury hotels are now under the scanner of the State Government, both for their exorbitant tariff as well as compliance with norms.

Though the government had fixed a standard tariff for treatment of COVID-19, the packages vary due to ‘special facilities’. There are ten private hospitals offering treatment for COVID-19 in Tirupati, six of them enrolled under Aarogyasri. The cost of treatment falls under various slabs, depending on the infrastructure facilities. COVID-19 cases are categorised as mild, moderate and critical, where charges are levied accordingly, ranging from ₹15,000 to ₹75,000 a day.

The hospitals have, in fact, brought out brochures to highlight their special facilities. Some of the ‘special’ facilities offered include 24x7 nursing care and supervision by doctors and consultation by ‘specialist doctors’. Even availability of oxygen and ambulances are touted as ‘exclusive facilities’.

Skyhigh prices

After the exorbitant rates charged by a couple of hospitals came to light a couple of days ago, government authorities have turned their focus on the entire private medical setup. Chittoor Collector Bharat Narayana Gupta announced the formation of a nodal officer system to closely monitor the pricing mechanism.

“It has come to our notice that certain hospitals are exorbitantly charging patients. Hence, we have appointed a nodal officer for every hospital. Such an inclination during a time of crisis will not be tolerated and we will initiate stern action against such hospitals,” Dr. Gupta said. Though doctors have the final say in identifying the seriousness of every case, they will continue to do the same, this time, under the vigilant eye of nodal officers appointed to check unfair practices.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 7:25:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/covid-care-facilities-under-state-scanner/article32329732.ece

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