Won't spare hospitals overcharging COVID patients: Punjab minister

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Chandigarh, May 17 (PTI) Punjab Health Minister Balbir Sidhu on Monday warned hospitals against overcharging patients for coronavirus treatment, saying the government is empowered to shut their operations if they indulge in the practice.

According to a release, the minister at a virtual meeting with a state-level panel of the Indian Medical Association said the government has been receiving complaints that coronavirus patients are being fleeced by hospitals, who are charging above the rates fixed by the state government.

The government will take stringent action against such hospitals or doctors under the Epidemic Diseases Act, he said.

The government is empowered to shut the hospital or take control of it, Sindu said, asking private hospitals not to take advantage of any patient's compulsion, failing which the government will be left with no other option than to take action against them.

“Our doctors and paramedical staff (both public and private) have set a good example of serving people during these difficult times wholeheartedly but there are some black sheep in the system who cheat people by taking undue advantage of the situation. Such people are putting a dent upon the image of the entire profession,” he said.

The minister further said strict measures are being taken to curb black marketing of medicines and medical oxygen in the state.

The government is also taking legal action against the vendors supplying less quantity while refilling oxygen cylinders and charging exorbitant rates.

Meanwhile, an official spokesperson of the state Health Department said the World Health Organization on Monday provided 100 oxygen concentrators to Punjab. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK