Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday announced the setting up of a task force headed by a senior IAS officer, to monitor treatment of Covid-19 patients in private hospitals in the state at an affordable cost.
Intervening during the short-discussion in the state assembly on the Coronavirus pandemic, the chief minister said there had been innumerable complaints from all quarters over the exorbitant charges being collected by private hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients.
KCR, as the chief minister is called, agreed with the suggestions made by several members that there should be more control over corporate hospitals treating Covid-19 patients.
“Right from the beginning, I had been saying that treatment for Covid-19 should be given only in government hospitals, as the corporate hospitals would fleece patients. However, we had no option but to allow corporate hospitals to admit Covid-19 patients after the high court’s intervention,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that these hospitals were extorting money from patients in the name of treating the coronavirus disease at this troubled time. “Is this the time for corporate hospitals to fleece patients for money, taking advantage of their misery?” he asked.
Stating that the government would now initiate stern action against the corporate hospitals collecting exorbitant fees from Covid-19 patients, the chief minister said the task force which would be formed on Wednesday and would release weekly reports on the status of treatment in these hospitals.
“These reports will also be sent to the leaders of all the opposition parties in the state to create wide social awareness about the “cruel” ways of the hospitals in extorting money from the victims of the pandemic,” KCR said.
Reacting to suggestions by Congress floor leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, the chief minister said the government would examine the possibility of including Covid-19 under Arogyasri, the state government’s health scheme for the poor and government employees.
“The government will also consider reimbursement of bills paid by white ration card holders who underwent treatment for Covid-19 in private hospitals,” he said.
The chief minister lashed out at the Centre for releasing paltry funds to the states at a time when it should come to their rescue to fight the pandemic. It had released only Rs 256 crore under the National Health Mission, apart from 647 ventilators to the state, he said.
He demanded that the Centre increase the budgetary allocations on improving the medical and health infrastructure in the state. “Our government is also planning to increase the budget for medical and health to tackle any emergency like Covid-19 in future,” he said.
Earlier, making a statement in the House, state health minister Eatala Rajender said the state had so far registered 1,45,163 cases as on September 7, of which 1,12,587 patients had recovered. Of the remaining, 24,579 patients were in home quarantine and 7,091 people were getting treatment at various hospitals, while 906 people had died.
The recovery rate of Telangana is 77.6% which is at par with India’s recovery rate. However, the death rate at the national level is 1.7% whereas in Telangana it is 0.62%. The number of deaths in the entire country is 72,830. Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of deaths i.e. 27,027 while Telangana is at 12th position with 906 deaths.
He said tests for Covid-19 were being conducted in 38 private laboratories as well apart from government hospitals. At present, around 60 thousand tests are being conducted daily in the state, he added.