Kakinada: The managements of private hospitals which are usually packed with patients are now scouring for patients with Aarogyasri cards to admit them in their hospitals.
With the government taking a serious view of the private hospitals not filling up 50 per cent of beds for Aarogyasri beneficiaries and threatening action against the violations, the managements are in a hurry to get Aarogyasri patients. They were admitting such patients earlier, too, but only after forcing them to cough up money under the cashless scheme.
On the instructions of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, East Godavari District Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy cracked the whip on such erring hospitals and ordered nodal officers to slap huge penalties. Dr YSR Aarogyasri district coordinator Dr P. Radhakrishna said that around Rs 1.7 crore penalties were levied on the private hospitals on charges of not admitting the Covid-19 patients under the Aarogyasri scheme. He said if Aarogyasri beds were found as vacant in private hospitals, there would be a fine at the rate of Rs 20,000 per bed.
The tough measures have yielded results. East Godavari district has stood first in the state in allocating beds to the patients under the Aarogyasri scheme with 68 per cent occupancy. Dr Radhakrishna said that the district stood at second place only five days back. As such, it is not surprising that managements of some hospitals lagging behind in meeting the government conditions are scurrying to rope in Covid patients under the Aarogyasri scheme.
However, the private hospitals ask what they can do if the patients do not turn up for availing the scheme. “We are committed to giving treatment to Covid-19 patients under the scheme. But, unless they approach the hospitals, what can we do?” asked a private hospital doctor. Their task has become tougher given the growing tendency of people to avoid the highly expensive treatment at private hospitals and prefer treatment in home isolation or at Covid care centres.