Around five hospitals treating Covid-19 patients in Visakhapatnam were found violating norms, and booked accordingly, for misusing oxygen cylinders, selling Remedesivir injections at high prices and overcharging for Covid-19 treatment. While the number of Covid-19 cases in Vizag has increased, reaching up to 2000 per day, many families who have their dear ones being treated at private hospitals were shocked at the medical bills given by the hospitals. There are many hospitals that are taking advantage of the situation, making families shell out money.
To bring a pause to such unethical practices, Vigilance and Enforcement Department teams have got into action and begun conducting surprise raids. Based on the complaints raised by Covid-19 affected families, cases have been booked on five hospitals in Visakhapatnam till now and few more hospitals are on the list. “During our raids at a private hospital, we have found three non-covid hospitals treating patients without permission from the government and they have been overcharging for the treatment. In another Covid-19 treated hospital, we caught two nurses and two room-service boys selling Remdesivir injections for double the price. On Monday, we conducted raids on a private hospital in Arilova, finding a hospital forcing the patient to pay a bill only after which they will hand over the dead body. The bills are also being overcharged against the norms,” said Vigilance and Enforcement Department Additional SP, G Swaroopa Rani. The team, during raids, found that few hospitals were charging more for Covid-19 treatment against Rs 16,500 fixed by the State Government.
According to the officials, though there are many cases being reported from mostly private hospitals in the city, when it comes to filing a complaint, not many are ready to come forward which is making the job of the teams tough to work on. “There are many who report such malpractices but when we ask them to file them a complaint, they do not come forward. It is either that the patient gets discharged or they settle things with the hospital management after the patient dies. In such cases, we do not take things for granted. Once we get the hint about unethical things happening at any hospital, we are into action even through the Suo Moto act,” said Swaroopa Rani.
The Vigilance and Enforcement Department officials who are trying to curb illegal practices by the hospitals in Visakhapatnam, urge the people to come forward to complain against any hospital which they found treating against covid-19 norms.