40 private hospitals in State pulled up for violations

So far, 10 facilities have lost permits to treat COVID-19 patients

At least 40 private hospitals in the State have been pulled up for violations, including “charging exorbitant rates” for treating COVID-19 patients.

So far, 10 private hospitals have lost their permits to treat COVID-19 patients, following violations including charging patients in excess of the government stipulated rates for COVID-19 treatment.

Officials of the Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services said though the number of complaints were not the same as during the first wave, a number of hospitals were in trouble for charging more than the cost prescribed by the State government.

“We have issued notices to 22 hospitals for violations, including excess charges for treatment. We have cancelled COVID-19 treatment permissions to 10 hospitals so far. They cannot admit new patients, while existing in-patients should be treated and discharged. The Directorate has been taking action under the Tamil Nadu Clinical Establishments Act,” an officer said.

On Friday, the Directorate issued notices to 20 more private hospitals for charging exorbitant rates. “We had received complaints through the State health helpline 104. If these hospitals do not initiate refunds, we will not only cancel their COVID-19 treatment permissions, but also their clinical registrations,” he said.

On May 22, the State government had issued an order fixing maximum rates that private hospitals could charge patients for COVID-19 treatment. For those covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme, it had fixed ₹5,000 a day for patients not requiring oxygen support, and ₹15,000 for those requiring oxygen support. For critical cases, it fixed ₹35,000 for ICU with ventilatory support, ₹30,000 for ICU with non-invasive ventilation and ₹25,000 for ICU with oxygen as stepping down.

For the general public, the State government fixed the cost of treatment on a par with CMCHIS — ₹5,000 a day for A3 to A6 category hospitals and ₹7,500 a day for A1 and A2 category hospitals for non-oxygen beds. It had fixed ₹15,000 for oxygen-supported beds and Rs. 35,000 for ICU with ventilatory support. Hospitals were permitted to charge ₹30,000 a day for non-invasive ventilator, C-PAP and Bi-PAP in the ICU and ₹25,000 for ICU with oxygen as stepping down.

As per the government order, hospitals could face action under the Clinical Establishments Act and the Disaster Management Act if the charges are proven. Officials said private hospitals should adhere to the rates stipulated in the G.O. issued on May 22. People can lodge complaints on excess charges through the State health helpline 104.

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