Officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department, District Collectors and police officials are authorised to take action in such cases.

COVID testing being done by health care workers by wearing blue coloured PPE kitsImage for representation only
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, May 29, 2021 - 10:23

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to crack the whip on private hospitals that are overcharging COVID-19 patients. While notices and warnings were being issued to them till now, Chief Minister YS 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, those hospitals, which get caught billing patients exorbitantly above the notified charges that are fixed by the government, would be levied a penalty ten times greater than the sum. Repeat offenders would also be charged with criminal offences 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 said that it has also taken steps to ensure oxygen supply. As per orders issued by the Principal Secretary, Health, oxygen plants are mandatory in hospitals with a 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.

Meanwhile in the neighbouring Telangana state, in a recent move, permission to give COVID-19 treatment for five private hospitals was revoked when they were found to be overcharging patients. Sixty other private hospitals were also given show-cause notices.

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