Private hospitals ‘fleecing’ Covid patients in Kangra

Our Correspondent

Palampur, May 19

Private hospitals in Kangra district are allegedly overcharging Covid patients for various facilities. People are seeking treatment at private hospitals, as there is a shortage of beds in government hospitals in the district. Kangra has been the worst-hit district for the past few weeks and the biggest one-day surge of 1,600 Covid cases was recorded last week.

The state government has requisitioned 50 per cent beds in private hospitals for Covid patients in Palampur, Kangra, Gaggal, Mattor and Fatehpur and also fixed the rates of beds and medical care. However, there are no guidelines pertaining to the rates to be charged for the remaining 50 per cent beds that are being allotted to patients, who reach private hospitals directly on not getting beds in government hospitals. Despite a hue and cry, the government is yet to regulate the rate plan. A number of videos of patients being overcharged has gone viral on social media.

Dr Gurdarshan Gupta, Chief Medical Officer, Kangra, says that the government has fixed the rates only for 50 per cent beds requisitioned by the administration in the private hospitals. However, for the remaining 50 per cent beds, the private hospitals are at liberty to charge any amount from patients for various services rendered.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that the charges for a bed with a ventilator can go up to Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per day. Many hospitals insist on advance payment before admitting patients. The room rent and the rates of PPE kits are quite high. The room rent varies between Rs 5,000 and Rs 18,000 per day while the cost of a PPE kit is Rs 4,000.

Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati says that he has received reports of patients being overcharged and necessary action will be taken against the defaulters.

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