Nagpur: The Maharashtra Government on Monday told the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court that no free treatment to Covid-19 patients will be provided in private hospitals stating a majority of them were already insured under various government schemes or private insurers.
In an affidavit submitted in the High Court, Deputy Director of Health Services in Nagpur circle, Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, also clarified there was no government scheme for paying compensation to heirs of Covid-19 deceased under Section 2 (10) of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Ravi Deshpande then adjourned the hearing on a suo motu plea on bed shortage. The affidavit was submitted through Additional Government Pleader Deepak Thakre in response to HC’s queries on whether the government was ready to bear all hospitalization expenses of Covid patients and also for paying compensation under Section 2(1) of Epidemic Diseases Act to the family of deceased who succumbed to coronavirus in the government and private hospitals. According to the affidavit, till October 26, there were 613 Dedicated Covid Hospitals (DCHs), 1,040 Dedicated Covid Health Centres (DCHCs) and 1,942 Covid Care Centres (CCCs) across the state. Free treatment was being provided to both Covid and non-Covid patients in hospitals operating under government’s Public Health Department, Municipal Corporations, Railways, and also private establishments empanelled under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MPJAY).
Out of total Covid patients in the state, 60-70% are asymptomatic or have minimal symptoms that don’t need any major intervention and can be treated at home or at CCCs established by the government in college hostels, hotels or community halls. Till October 30, out of 1.25 lakh active patients, 84,136 were hospitalized and 41,282 were in home isolation. Of them, 12,767 were required to be put on oxygen and only 1,384 required ventilators.
Meanwhile, the District Collector Ravindra Thakare on Monday said in an affidavit before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court that over 600 beds were available at any time in Dedicated Covid Hospitals (DCHs) across the district during peak of Covid. The revelation is in sharp contrast to the agonizing ordeal citizens faced while trying to save their loved ones.
Prolonged discharge formalities, delay in clearing bodies from beds, and reserving some beds for in-house critical patients have been cited as reasons for depriving needy patients of hospital beds.
On September 10, a resident of Friends Colony was unable to find a bed in a Covid hospital despite a 24-hour search after his father tested positive. Much before this, there were many cases of harassed citizens who couldn’t find a Covid hospital bed in Nagpur and rural parts for days on end beginning mid-August to end of September. Many patients reportedly even passed away after failing to get treatment in time due to bed shortage.
The affidavit pertains to the period from May to October 31 for 14 DCHs, including AIIMS, Military Hospital Kamptee, Shalinitai Meghe Hospital and Research Centre, Lata Mangeshkar Hospital Wanadongri, and private hospitals from Wadi, Kamptee, Khapri and Jamtha, having capacity of 1,330 beds in all. The vacancies at these hospitals fell to 632 on September 22, but remained above this figure since May.