Pune: Panel to probe complaints of overcharging, denial of admission to Covid patients

The district collector said by and large, private hospital authorities have been cooperative during the coronavirus disease pandemic, but the administration has received some complaints.




A committee headed by District Collector Naval Kishore Ram has been set up to tackle complaints pertaining to issues such as overcharging by hospitals and denial of admission to Covid-19 patients.

The district collector said by and large, private hospital authorities have been cooperative during the coronavirus disease pandemic, but the administration has received some complaints.

Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar announced the setting up of this committee, which will have the district civil surgeon as the member-secretary, and two medical experts who will advise whether charges levied by hospitals were fair or excessive.

“We interacted with authorities of 19 major hospitals and are taking an exact count of the number of hospital beds that can be set aside for treating Covid-19 patients,” added Mhaisekar.

The state has acquired 80 per cent of beds across all private hospitals and nursing homes till August 31 this year, and also capped the price of treatment. The hospitals are free to charge their own rates in the remaining 20 per cent beds. The move is meant to to expand bed capacity and also address the issue of exorbitant prices charged by private hospitals for patients who don’t have medical insurance.

At the meeting on Monday, private hospital authorities also raised the issue of segregation of Covid-19 patients and other patients. Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital who attended the meeting, said there are several types of patients, such as those who need chemotherapy and are immuno-suppressed, those who need emergency neuro-surgeries and others who need to keep their diabetes in check. “These patients need to be segregated from Covid-19 patients and each hospital will have to make infrastructural changes to do that,” said Dr Sale.

Authorities of some other hospitals said while they had vacant beds, they were waiting for their staff to return. On the availability of doctors, Ram told mediapersons, “We are recruiting in a large way in rural areas and involving doctors from various general practitioners’ associations, Indian Medical Association and others… in some hospitals, the staff is also returning”.

Pune Division, so far, has seen 9,961 Covid-19 cases, of which over 5,000 have recovered and been discharged. There have been 456 deaths in Pune Division, including 21 deaths in Satara, 88 in Solapur, four in Sangli, six in Kolhapur, and the remaining in Pune district.

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