A delegation of heads of hospitals run by Christian institutions in Bengaluru met Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar and sought help in keeping their facilities operational. They claim that the BS Yediyurappa government's order to reserve 50 per cent beds for COVID-19 along with some patient's refusal to pay bills has made it financially difficult for them to run hospitals.
The delegation, led by Bengaluru Archbishop Rev Dr Peter Machado, was assured assistance "within a week".
Stating that these institutions have been running these hospitals in Bangalore for decades, Dr Sudhakar said, "The hospitals want the government to support them through rebates or taxes so they can make their ends meet. This is not about profit, but about service; they are not earning. All this they have brought to our attention as a delegation. I have told them we will release all payment due to these organisations within a week."
"We have told the government that we will fight against Coronavirus and we will do our best, but the ground reality is that there are three types of hospital - corporate hospitals with corporate funds, government hospitals with state funds, and then there is us. There is no profit, but we would not like to bear any losses else we will not be able to keep working," the Archbishop said.
He added that though people were coming to St John's, Philomena's, St Martha's hospitals as private coronavirus patients, but on being discharged they claim that they were referred there from a government hospital and so the "government should pay".
Karnataka is the fourth worst affected state in India with over 1.78 lakh coronavirus cases and 80,000 active cases, with Bengaluru accounting for almost half the cases.
A record single-day jump of 62,064 new coronavirus patients has taken India's COVID-19 tally past the 22 lakh-mark, the Union Health Ministry data showed. A total of 44,386 deaths have been logged so far.
The delegation also spoke about the need for new burial grounds as all old ones are full.