The sequence of exploitation continues despite the stringent orders in force in Telangana. Government imposed strict orders to curb the hospital irregularities towards Covid patients but the saga continues without fear in Hyderabad and elsewhere in the state.
Although the Telangana government has issued an order to regulate costs related to treatment of Covid-19, including hospital bills, lab tests bills, etc., many private hospitals and diagnostic centres across the state continue to charge exorbitant rates. Those who have felt the pinch say that people charging unnecessarily from helpless patients in these testing times are ‘Medical terrorists’.
More than Coronavirus, citizens are now scared of paying hefty hospital bills. They feel traumatized after coming to know about the unduly high charges imposed by hospitals, diagnostic centres and ambulances, while running from pillar to post to provide treatment for their family members and loved ones.
35-year-old B Ramakrishna Yadav, a resident of Ameenpur who has been running around for his 53-year-old mother’s treatment for the past 20 days told #KhabarLive,”When I reached Maxcare Hospital in Hanamkonda to admit my mother, as we were in Warangal when my mother got COVID positive, I was told to pay Rs 1 lakh for hospital admission on the spot. After I told them that I don’t have Rs 1 lakh, but I can pay only Rs 50,000, they agreed for admission. However, I was asked to pay for the rest of things like medicines, diagnostics etc on a daily basis so I paid Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 daily. I paid Rs 6.5 lakh for approximately for 12 days’ treatment, among which Rs 75,000 was charged for medicines, Rs 26,000 for diagnostics, and remaining Rs 5 lakh for hospital treatment charges”.
He added, “The hospital didn’t even accept insurance, but only demanded cash; so, I was forced to pay the bills only in cash. After running out of whatever cash savings we had, I was forced to sell my mother’s gold worth Rs 4 lakh for which I got only Rs 3 lakh. Later, as we were not able to pay the hospital bills, we shifted mom to Hyderabad Citizen Hospital, where they accepted the insurance. However, while shifting my mother from Warangal to Hyderabad, the ambulance charged us Rs 40,000. Once my insurance amount got exhausted during my mother’s treatment, I had to think about further hospital bills. My father has decided to sell off my mother’s gold ornaments for further treatment if required as we don’t have any other options. We have spent everything from our pocket. Cash gone, gold gone but no improvement in my mother’s health. The common man is completely exhausted and frustrated as one from every family need to stand in a line for medicines/one should arrange money from outside one should be always available to take care of patient. I and my father got positive in this process, but still no improvement in my mother’s health”.
Sinjith Goud, a consumer activist and a Law student, said, “None of the hospitals is following and implementing the rates for treating COVID-19 patients and for other medical procedures fixed by the health department. Hospitals are charging more and more for medical oxygen.
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has fixed Rs 25.71 per 1,000 litres of medical oxygen, but the hospitals are charging around Rs 300-1,000 per 15 litres due to demand. The hospitals are also not mentioning the amount of medical oxygen consumed by a patient per day, but they’re simply charging Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh for medical oxygen and reflecting the same in the bill and this is against the Consumer Protection Act. The fundamental, human, consumer rights of patients are being violated blatantly by the hospitals. The police can take action under IPC, Disaster Management Act and the aggrieved patients can approach consumer courts and the high court for claiming their losses”.
Vangala Sai Kiran, another resident said, “Knowing the gravity of the situation, the government should embrace people and take action against private hospitals for their inexorableness in these testing times. People are helpless and they are strongly condemning the reluctance of the government to take action against them, whereas the other states like Kerala slam private hospitals for looting the public. I have seen many of my friends who succumbed to COVID-19. People are more paralyzed about hospital prices rather than the Covid virus. This would not happen if the government hospitals maintain indispensable requirements which are needed in this hour.
It is high time the Telangana government strictly implemented G.O.Rt.No.248 & G.O.Rt.No.539 by frequent raids on hospitals and diagnostic centres. It should also react to online complaints and take action against violators”. #KhabarLive #hydnews