The number of complaints lodged against private hospitals which offer COVID-19 treatment have dropped of late. Earlier, around 20 to 25 complaints were being received in a day.

“Now, they have dropped to six to eight a day, including around four related to surplus billing,” said Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao.

The Health department had announced a WhatsApp number (91541-70960) apart from ‘104’ to register grievances regarding surplus billing, lapses in treatment any other issue faced by patients and their families at private hospitals.

Till date, around 2,000 complaints have been received. Most prominent among grievances is excess billing for COVID-19 treatment, in violation of ceiling prices announced by the State government on June 15. Other grievances include managements’ demand for clearing pending bills as a condition to hand over body, lapses in services and denying insurance policies.

A team was formed to investigate the complaints. A few weeks ago, permission given to two private hospitals to treat COVID patients was revoked.

Answering a question on why action was not taken against more private hospitals, he said the government’s agenda is not to shut down all private hospitals as the action will affect COVID and non-COVID services. “But we will take action against hospitals who conduct themselves inappropriately. We might take action against a few more hospitals,” he said. Dr. Srinivasa Rao said, adding that he and other senior officials have intervened on many occasions to provide relief to complainants.

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