Last month, Vishali was forced to shift her mother from the intensive care unit of a private hospital to a government hospital on oxygen support after her saturation levels dropped below 30 per cent and the private hospital pressurised her to get her mother discharged. But having taken out of ICU support for several hours while being shifted worsened the condition of her mother, who died within a couple of days after being moved to the government hospital.
According to Vishali, though her mother was in a critical condition, she still had to shift her because of her inability to afford Rs 60,000 per day charged by the private hospital for ICU treatment.
“The private hospital management said that insurance coverage wouldn’t be enough because the treatment and medications were costlier. I complained to the Directorate of Medical Services and the hospital’s approval for COVID treatment was suspended. But I am yet to receive any refund,” Vishali said.
There are several complaints that many private hospitals that are enroled under CMCHIS denying the facility at the admission time itself claiming that there were not enlisted under the scheme.
When his blood saturation level dropped while under home quarantine last month, Y Abhishek of Ekkaduthangal found an oxygen bed at a private hospital in Chromepet after great difficulty. “Though the hospital agreed to give me a bed and collected advance, I was asked to move to another hospital when I enquired if they accepted CMCHIS. The hospital refused to accept that it was enroled in the list of hospitals eligible for the insurance. After two days, I moved to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital for treatment,” he said.
Many patients recalled that it was not only the government scheme, but even the private insurance schemes were not being accepted by private hospitals. In most cases, patients are being forced to pay the bill.
Recently, after complaints of overcharging for COVID-19, the Directorate of Medical Services suspended the licence of 10 private hospitals in Tamil Nadu. Sources said complaints against private hospitals refusing to accept CMCHIS are also on the rise in the recent past.
“We are suspending the approval given to the hospitals that deny CMCHIS insurance for COVID-19 treatment. The refunds are being initiated and Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan is also being given a report on this. As per State Health Department norm, it is mandatory for private hospitals eligible for CMCHIS to accept insurance for COVID treatment,” said Dr S Gurunanathan, Director of Medical Services.