Sources said these 19 hospitals were among the more than 50 complaints it had received in the recent past.
After reports of private hospitals charging exorbitant amounts for COVID treatment, the State government had issued two orders fixing the maximum permissible amount that can be collected per day. As per the GOs issued by the State Health Department, hospitals classified as A1 and A2 category could collect a maximum of Rs 7,500 per day while it was Rs 5,000 for those falling in A3 and A4 categories.
The cost of treatment in intensive care units was fixed at Rs 15,000 per day in all category hospitals.
However, despite these regulations coming into force in June, the directorate had received several complaints that many private hospitals failed to adhere to the order and were continuing to fleece COVID patients. So far, more than 50 complaints were filed in this regard.
Finally, cracking down on the errant managements, the directorate cancelled the COVID-19 treatment licence of nine hospitals across the State. These include three private hospitals in Chennai, and one each in Tiruchy, Virudhunagar, Salem, Thoothukudi, Ranipet and Coimbatore.
After the Health Department initiated action, 18 hospitals settled the excess charge they had collected from the patients over and above the cap fixed by the government. Four of these hospitals had multiple complaints against them, official sources said.
According to Dr A Vishwanathan, deputy director, Directorate of Medical Services, the decision to cancel the licences of four of those private hospitals was revoked after their managements gave an undertaking assuring that such incidents would not happen in future.
“If the hospitals continue to violate the price cap fixed by the government, their licence to treat COVID patients will be suspended,” added Dr Vishwanathan.