The Maharashtra government has issued an order which places all private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients under the state government’s control.
This order will be applicable to all private hospitals registered with the Charity Commissioner. The authority to take over these hospitals lies with the District Collector, Municipal Commissioner, and Chief Executive Officer of the State Health Guarantee Society.
The crackdown comes in the wake of private hospitals in the state collecting between Rs 50,000 per day, or Rs 5 lakh, to over Rs 25 lakh from each Covid positive patient, taking advantage of the paucity of beds in government and municipal hospitals.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Health Minister Rajesh Tope are said to be taking the matter seriously. Sudhakar Shinde, CEO, State Health Guarantee Society said, “We have issued this order as per the suggestion of both the ministers.”
To solve the problem of arbitrary and exorbitant fees charged by private hospitals, the Maharashtra government has mandated fixed rates at a maximum of Rs 4,000, Rs 7,500, and Rs 9,000 per day. The order said the rates were fixed by the government as per rates by health insurance companies.
Also in accordance with this order and enactment of the Essential Services Act, doctors, nurses, and other staff in private hospitals cannot go on strike and are bound to perform their duties.
The order also enacts the Disaster Prevention Act, as a result of which if private hospitals do not follow the orders of the government, they can be charged with non-bailable offences.
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