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Punjab to fix hospital charges for treatment of COVID-19 patients

Punjab health minister warned private hospitals overcharging coronavirus patients of stringent action and said that the government reserves the right to withdraw the land provided to hospitals at highly concessional rates.

PTI | New Delhi |

After reports of private hospitals charging exorbitant amount from COVID-19 patients in Punjab surfaced, the state government stepped in on Saturday and said it will soon fix charges for treatment.

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that most of the COVID-19 patients do not need any special treatment. They only need to be kept under observation, served food and medicines, he said.

He warned private hospitals overcharging coronavirus patients of stringent action and said that the government reserves the right to withdraw the land provided to hospitals at highly concessional rates.

“The Punjab government will soon fix the charges for COVID treatment in the interest of both patients and private hospitals,” Sidhu said in a statement.

He said this is a crisis when everyone is fighting for survival and “some unscrupulous private hospitals have tried to resort to open and wanton loot of the helpless patients”.

“It is sad and shameful on their part that instead of making a positive contribution towards fighting this pandemic, some of these hospitals have resorted to extortion, which will not be allowed at any cost,” he said.

The minister has called a meeting on Monday to decide the fee structure for treatment of COVID-19 patients. He said all factors will be taken into consideration.

“We do not want the private hospitals to suffer any financial losses, but we will not allow extortion at any cost and that too during the time of emergency,” he said. “And for sure, the treatment of a COVID patient should not cost several lakhs of rupees,” Sidhu added.

Punjab has reported 3,063 cases of coronavirus with its death toll at 65.