The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to crack the whip on private hospitals that are over-charging Covid patients. While notices and warnings were being issued to them till now, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has now directed officials to henceforth file criminal charges against such hospitals.
As per the orders issued by Principal Secretary, Health, Anil Kumar Singhal, hospitals caught billing patients exorbitantly, above the notified charges, will be levied a penalty ten times greater than the sum. Repeat offenders will be charged with criminal offences, and under the provisions of the Clinical Establishments Act.
“Any hospital or clinical establishment found to be repeating the same… such hospitals shall be prosecuted as per the provisions of IPC, besides action as per the Clinical Establishment Act,” the order read.
It stated that officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department, District Collectors, and police officials are authorised to take action in such cases.
The state government has also taken steps to ensure oxygen supply. As per orders issued by the Principal Secretary, Health, oxygen plants are mandatory in hospitals with capacity of 50 beds and above.
Now hospitals having between 50 and 100 beds,must set up 500 litres per minute (LPM) oxygen plants, while hospitals with more than 100 beds must have 1,000 LPM capacity oxygen plants.
The government has made it clear that oxygen concentrators, and cylinders must be provided for every bed in such hospitals. Even hospitals with less than 50 beds, must ensure oxygen concentrators, and cylinders for each bed, the order said.