The West Bengal government on Thursday urged private Covid-19 hospitals not to put the entire burden of additional expenses of treatment on patients, but to bear a part of it keeping in mind the current economic slowdown.
The TMC government, however, refrained from putting a cap on the expenses.
During a meeting with the authorities of private hospitals in Kolkata, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said, “We have not fixed any charge regarding hospital bills yet, but we will do so if we find any problem. We urge private hospitals to reduce and rationalise treatment costs and not impose the additional costs on patients. We are monitoring the situation.”
According to the chief secretary, the decision was made after considering the current economic slowdown.
Following the meeting, Sinha at a press conference said, “We have information that patients have to bear the cost of PPEs being used by doctors who are treating them. This is unfair. You cannot put the entire expenses on the patient. The hospital should bear a part of it. Everybody is having a hard time due to the economic slowdown.”
He also pointed out that some laboratories were charging exorbitant fees to conduct Covid-19 tests. “We have urged them to reduce the charges,” he said.
Referring to the Clinical Establishment Act, 2017, Sinha also said private hospitals cannot deny treatment to any patient. He added, “As per law, the private hospitals cannot refuse to provide treatment to any patient having any infectious disease. They are bound to keep them in isolation. We have told them that the state government does not enforce law on anybody, but they also should not forget the laws.”
The state government on Thursday released a circular stating that at present, West Bengal has 10,313 beds for Covid-19 patients, among which 8,225 are vacant.
“In the last 24 hours, some private hospitals have increased the number of beds. Now, there are 1,000 Covid-19 beds in private hospitals in Kolkata. Almost 50 per cent beds are still vacant,” he said.
“More beds will be available when patients with mild symptoms or those who are asymptomatic will be moved to safe homes. Private hospitals must put up information on their website on the total number of beds available and how many among them are occupied,” Sinha said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines