Coronavirus: Kejriwal warns private hospitals against 'black marketing of beds'
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday warned private hospitals against the "black marketing of beds" amid the coronavirus pandemic. Since the Delhi government launched an app to maintain transparency over the availability of hospital beds, patients continue to face trouble being admitted. Kejriwal also said that no hospital can refuse to test any suspected COVID-19 patient. Here are more details.
Kejriwal said he had been approached by a person who was refused admission by a private hospital for COVID-19 treatment and later asked to pay Rs. 2 lakh. Kejriwal said, "I didn't believe him. But recently, during a live television program, the anchor called a hospital asking for a hospital bed. The hospital refused. When the anchor pleaded, the hospital demanded Rs. 8 lakh."
On Tuesday, the Delhi government had launched the Delhi Corona app where people can check available beds and ventilators hospital-wise. Despite the app saying hospital beds were available, some private hospitals continue to refuse to admit patients citing non-availability of space. Kejriwal warned such "two or four" hospitals to discontinue this practice and threatened "strict action."
Kejriwal said when the app was launched on Tuesday, there were 2,800 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Delhi, most in government hospitals. He said, "Today, there are 3,900 hospitalized patients. 1,100 new patients have been added, mostly in private hospitals." He added that people are now demanding hospital beds armed with the knowledge that the beds are available.
Kejriwal said, "I am not saying that all private hospitals are bad...But a few private hospitals are indulging in such wrong acts." He added, "We (the government) are not the ones updating the number of hospital beds. We have given access to hospitals to update the information on the app themselves. But then they say they do not have hospital beds available."
The CM has sought a few days' time to bring down this hospital "mafia." He claimed that some of these hospitals have links in the top ranks of many political parties. Kejriwal claimed, "They (the hospitals) threatened us saying, "We will not admit COVID-19 patients. Do what you want.' I want to tell them that they will have to admit the patients."
A government medical official will now be stationed at the reception of each private hospital, the CM said. The government has also passed an order saying that no COVID-19 patient can be refused to be tested and treated by private hospitals.
Over allegations that testing has been stalled in Delhi, Kejriwal assured that people continue to be tested in the city. "Today we received 5,300 samples for testing." He said 42 labs in Delhi have been approved for testing, out of which, six were being uncooperative. He said the government has only taken action against those six labs, while the 36 others continue to function.
However, Kejriwal said that if all asymptomatic cases asked to be tested for COVID-19, the labs will fall short. "Please do not insist on being tested if you are an asymptomatic case," he said adding this would hamper testing for the more serious cases.