The Karnataka government has set up a toll-free round-the-clock helpline to lodge complaints about hospitals refusing to accept suspected
coronavirus cases. Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday warned private hospitals of action if they denied admission to coronavirus patients or declined to carry out swab tests.
"If denied admission, the patient can call 1912. It is a 24x7 helpline number. Whoever calls the number will get immediate relief," Sudhakar told reporters. Reminding people that at least 50 per cent beds in private hospitals are reserved for COVID-19 patients under state government's quota to treat them free of cost, the minister said those getting admitted in such hospitals can avail benefits under the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust.
For those going to private hospitals and unwilling to avail benefits under the government quota, there is a cap on the rates too, he added. A senior IAS officer has been appointed as a nodal officer to oversee functioning of laboratories across the state. The minister stressed that private labs have to play
a proactive role.
Noting that the state has established 80 labs, which is 10 per cent of the total labs in the country, he said, "We have tested 6.5 lakh people (so far)."
"The government has not collected even a penny from even a person. We have fixed the rate for testing in the private labs, which is Rs 2,200. It is a dynamic rate, which will come down in the coming days," the minister said. Pointing to most swab tests being conducted by the government labs, Sudhakar said the private sector has to bear 60 per cent of the burden.
"Now we have made a rule. If they (private hospitals) don't test the samples sent to them, then we will initiate action against them," he added. The minister appealed to the people not to panic due to coronavirus as it was not as deadly as has been projected. He said tuberculosis continues to kill people four times more than coronavirus.