Stop Exploitation of Covid-19 Patients by Private, Corporate Hospitals

275 members signed the statement.

We the citizens are demanding the Telangana State Government to take necessary steps to stop exploitation of Covid-19 patients by private, corporate hospitals.

Campaigner

D. G. Narasimha Rao

India

About The Campaign

The rapidly rising number of Corona Virus (Covid-19) cases in our state of Telangana, especially in Hyderabad and surrounding districts, is creating a scary situation for the citizens. There are several reports in newspapers and social media about patients not able to find a hospital bed in time,resulting in totally avoidable deaths. Many experts believe that this month of July and the coming month of August is going to see a huge surge of cases, most likely overwhelming our health infrastructure.


Our State Government has made arrangements for treating Covid-19 patients in the nodal GandhiHospitals, and several other Government hospitals in Hyderabad. But there seems to be lack of adequate medical personnel in providing effective and timely treatment for the patients. The instances of TV journalist Madhu's death in Gandhi Hospitals or that of two other persons in ChestHospital have become viral in social media, with video clips shot by themselves just before their deaths, shared across platforms. This has created a sense of fear among citizens to approach the government hospitals for Covid-19 treatment and this fact can be seen by Health Department figures which show only 30% occupancy of beds in Gandhi Hospitals.


It is in this scenario that several middle-class persons affected by the Covid-19 virus are, as a first choice, rushing to private corporate hospitals that are permitted to treat Covid-19 patients. And utilizing this situation of increased demand and limited supply of beds, these private corporate hospitals are indulging in blatant profiteering, asking the desperate patients and their families to pay anywhere from nearly Rs 50,000/- per day to Rs 1,50,000/- per day depending on the condition of the patient. Some are even refusing to take patients with valid health insurance, under a cashless route, and insisting on payment in cash and reimbursement later.


As is known, Corona Virus (Covid-19) is a global pandemic, unprecedented in its scale, affecting several countries and its populations. Several governments have come to the aid of the affected people not only by providing medical aid and treatment at government cost but also providing financial support to their citizens to tide over their economic crisis. In such a situation, the least our government can do is at least prevent the hapless patients from being exploited in this cruel manner by private corporate hospitals. The Governments are empowered to do this both under theDisaster Management Act, 2005, and The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation)Act, 2010 but are, sadly, looking the other way and allowing this blatant looting.


It is in this context that PATNAM, (Telangana Urban Areas Development Forum), with focus on public health and environmental issues, has filed a Public Interest Litigation petition in the high court for the State of Telangana [WP(PIL) 142 of 2020] seeking directions to the Government to act to reign in the private corporate hospitals in the state. In further action, we are seeking the support of all organizations and persons belonging to various walks of life, to come forward and support this cause by signing this online petition so that our voices are heard by the Government.


We the citizens are demanding the Telangana State Government take the following immediate and effective steps:

1. Take over at least 50% of beds in private corporate and teaching hospitals for allotment toCovid-19 patients.

2. Evolve a Web-based transparent mechanism with live updates about the availability of beds and their allotment at Government-capped rates in these hospitals.

3. Immediately fill up all vacant posts in Government hospitals and improve their infrastructure in order to create confidence among the people to avail their services.

4. Bring Covid-19 treatment under Arogyasri cover so that the poor can also avail services in these hospitals.

5. Initiate strict action immediately against the private hospitals who are looting lakhs of rupees for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
6. There is a severe shortage of ambulances to fetch Covid-19 patients. The Government must increase by huge number the 108 and 104 ambulances
with the modern and necessary equipment to meet the current situation.

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