Criminal action against hospital owners if they refuse patients in Karnataka

K. Sudhakar   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Taking serious note of private hospitals and medical colleges refusing admission to patients and conduct of COVID-19 tests, the State government on Tuesday issued a stern warning that criminal action will be initiated against the owners of such private healthcare facilities.

“The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also issued guidelines that the government can cancel the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) registration of such hospitals that refuse to join hands with the government in controlling the pandemic,” said Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, the Minister said: “We have spoken to several hospital managements and representatives and requested them to cooperate with the government at this crucial juncture. While some have agreed, some others are not cooperating. Some hospitals are refusing admissions while some others have started COVID-19 testing labs but have not started doing the tests. If they continue to show non-cooperation, we will initiate action against the owners. We have repeatedly told the hospitals to not look at only making profits. But some hospitals are continuing to ignore our appeal and we are now forced to take action,” the Minister said.

“No hospital should turn away patients - be it COVID or non-COVID. They should consider every patient as a positive case and treat with precautions,” he said.

Stating that 3,571 beds, including ICU beds and beds with ventilators, are available in the city, the Minister called upon people not to panic. The Health Department has been permitted to appoint more manpower and procure digital x-rays for rapid detection of infection, he said. The salary of Group ‘D’ staff working in COVID-19 hospitals will be doubled, Mr. Sudhakar added.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan also called upon Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to cancel the KPME registration of hospitals that do not honour the government’s appeal to set aside 50% of beds for government quota patients.

75% deaths are due to non-COVID reasons

Although the daily media bulletin issued by the State Health Department has been recording just four non-COVID deaths, Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday said 75% of the 757 deaths reported till date are due to non-COVID reasons.

“Each case is being audited within a day or two. We will post the death audit on public domain. We have found that nearly 75% of the deaths of COVID-19 patients are due to underlying comorbidities such as cancer, renal and cardiac issues. Only 25% of the total deaths are actually due to COVID-19. People need not panic,” he said.

Notice to two private hospitals

The State government has issued notices to Apollo Hospitals - Jayanagar unit and Vikram Hospital for not admitting patients under government quota.

“Although they have set aside beds for COVID-19, they are not honouring their agreement to allot 50% of these beds for government referred patients. We inspected the two facilities and have found that all their COVID beds are occupied by paying private patients. They have been asked to reply within 24 hours failing which their OPD will be closed and KPME registration cancelled,” said Bengaluru Urban District Health Officer G.A. Srinivas.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 4:48:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/criminal-action-against-hospital-owners-if-they-refuse-patients/article32071669.ece

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