Coronavirus | Hospitals in interior Telangana play fast and loose with bills after deaths

Families are being crippled financially in their struggle to get treatment for loved ones suffering from COVID-19.

In Telangana, the family of 65-year-old B. Yellaiah (name changed) of Pulkal have had a harrowing time. When Mr. Yellaiah developed symptoms, he was taken to the Government Hospital at Sangareddy where a test confirmed he was COVID positive. The hospital started his treatment.

The family felt that Mr. Yellaiah would get better treatment at a private hospital and shifted him to one. Mr. Yellaiah battled for his life for nearly a week and died on Wednesday due to COVID-related complications. The kin were presented with a bill for ₹13 lakh.

“Soon after the death, we were told to arrange for ₹13 lakh towards a final settlement. We pleaded that we could not pay that much. They refused to hand over the body. Finally, a district-level officer intervened to give the body for the last rites,” a relative, preferring not to be named, told The Hindu on Thursday.

The family was told to sign an agreement with a person in their village for sale of a part of their land to clear the hospital bills. Only then could they take the mortal remains for the funeral.

Sources said many private hospitals were not issuing complete bills. Government employee V. Kumar (name changed) of Narsapur was taken to Hyderabad for COVID treatment. Some private hospitals did not agree to admit him stating that the government servants insist on comprehensive bills for reimbursement, which these hospitals were not ready to give. Mr. Kumar had to bring his plight to the notice of senior government officials who spoke to a private hospital, where he got admission.

But, after seven days of treatment, Mr. Kumar passed away. After a great amount of pressure was exerted on the hospital by officials, the family of Mr. Kumar got bills for the ₹8 lakh they had paid towards the treatment.

“None of the hospitals are collecting the charges as prescribed by the government. There is no one acting tough against the private hospitals looting patients. We are collapsing financially,” said the son of a man who recently passed away after contracting COVID-19.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:29:59 PM |

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