The Telangana government cancelled a Hyderabad hospital’s license to treat COVID-19 patients and issued show-cause notices to three other hospitals on May 18. These stern measures come a day after the Telangana High Court directed the state government to seriously look into overcharging by hospitals in the state. Dr G Srinivas Rao, Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, announced the action taken on the private hospitals

Dr Rao told the media that they received 26 complaints on the WhatsApp number that the department had provided, for citizens to lodge complaints against private hospitals that are overcharging them. “Three hospitals in Secunderabad, Nagole and Basheerbagh have been issued a show-cause notice for surplus billing and overcharging. The license of one hospital located in HITEC City in the Madhapur area, to treat COVID-19 patients, has been cancelled,” Dr Rao said.

The Director also appealed to hospitals to reconsider their charges and asked them to also factor in the financial background of the patients who approach them for treatment. The Director also appealed to the public to use the WhatsApp number provided to intimate private hospitals that are overcharging. Citizens can lodge complaints against such private hospitals for surplus billing and overcharging on 9154170960.

Dr. Rao, while speaking to the media on Tuesday, said, “For over two weeks, the number of new COVID cases has seen a downward trend in the state. The positivity rate is 5.28 per cent. The lockdown imposed is proving to be effective. The fever survey conducted in Greater Hyderabad is being emulated across other districts which is helping flatten the curve.”

He further added, “Many private hospitals are charging Rs. 1 lakh a day. A warning has already been issued. I appeal to the public to opt for government hospitals. The state has adequate bed availability in government-run hospitals. Currently, private hospitals are running short of medicines while the situation is contrary in government hospitals.”

On the increasing number of black fungus cases, the director said, “The state has reported 50 cases of Mucormycosis, of which 30-40 were in private hospitals. Telangana has been at the forefront to procure medicines for the infection. A special committee has been set up to regulate the stock.”

The drive to administer vaccines to people above 45 years will resume as soon as the state receives adequate stock, Dr. Rao said. Telangana is in talks with vaccination manufacturers, while the government has decided to call for global tenders to procure the vaccine. In the coming months, the vaccine will be administered to eligible beneficiaries. Priority will be given to those awaiting a second dose.

Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy revealed that 50 cases of Mucormycosis or the ‘black fungus’ infection have been reported in government hospitals and around 30-40 such patients are being treated in private hospitals.

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