TN private hospitals access Covid patients details, probe ordered

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The Tamil Nadu Public Health Department has commenced inquiry into complaints from several districts of the state that private hospitals are accessing the details of Covid-19 positive patients, officials said.

The department has deputed its district-level officers to conduct inquiries in respective districts after several complaints were received in this regard.

In Salem, a family complained to the district health officials that immediately after they tested positive and returned home, they received a call from a private hospital informing them about the services the hospital would provide at their residences.

Talking to IANS, BJP’s former Salem district President, R.P. Gopinath, who helped the family lodge a complaint with the district health authorities, said: “This is a racket… as soon as a patient tests positive and returns home for quarantine as advised by government PHC doctors, they are receiving calls from a private hospital in the district that the hospital would provide them home care. When asked as to from where they accessed their details of turning Covid positive, the hospital staff who called hung up the phone.”

Joint Director, Health, Dr. Nedumaran has already commenced an inquiry into the matter and has taken the statement of Gopinathan and Suresh Babu, whose family details were accessed by the private hospital.

In Erode, a family of three tested positive and minutes after they returned home, they received a call from a private hospital in the city stating that they would provide home care services. Again when the family head asked them how they come to know of them becoming positive, the caller hung up the phone.

Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts are also facing the same menace.

At Pammal in Chengalpattu, a government employee tested positive and minutes after he reached home, there was a call from a local private hospital stating that they would support the treatment at home and would send nurses and paramedics to take care of the family. The caller hung up when asked how they got the information.

AIADMK leader K. Elangovan said that “a major racket is in operation across the state and some Health Department officials are providing details of the patients to the private hospitals”.

“The government must undertake a comprehensive inquiry involving the Health, and Revenue Departments and police and charge those responsible. This is not allowable and against all moral and social ethics and stringent action is the need of the hour. Breach of privacy is not a joke and government must step in to curtail this.”

Health Minister Ma Subramanian promised action.

“If the allegation is true, it is very unfortunate and never should have taken place. The government will take strong action against the perpetrators of such actions. Investigation is on and we will bring the culprits to book,” Subramanian told IANS.

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