The rumors that hospitals receive money from the center on every COVID-19 death in India are false, and there is no evidence supporting the claim.
The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures announced by the central and state governments to control the spread of the deadly virus have led to several fake news and misinformation.
One such fake news that went viral claimed that the hospitals are provided ₹ 3 lakhs per COVID-19 death. This misinformation also received a slightly distinctive narrative that the Union government provides ₹ 3 lakhs per COVID-19 patient to state governments to care for the infected patients. However, the posts are incorrect, and there is no evidence to the claim. On May 10, 2020, the government clarified that the widely circulating message on WhatsApp and other social media platforms is fake and fraudulent. There was no such scheme by the central government.
Similarly, another fake news was circulated on social media in July 2020, claiming that the central government provides ₹1.5 lakh to every Municipal Corporation per COVID-19 patient. According to the allegations, the hospitals and private doctors increased the COVID-19 cases to receive monetary benefits from the government. The Press Information Bureau debunked the claim.
Moreover, most tests to check for COVID-19 rely on RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test to detect the virus's RNA in a respiratory tract sample from a patient. In other words, a person is declared as COVID-19 positive only after their throat swab is tested at a government-regulated lab.
Three separate videos are currently circulating on social media. One depicts a woman standing outside the Oxford Hospital in Bengaluru, alleging that the hospital is "killing" COVID-19 patients for profit. In an apparent reference to the woman's allegations, the other two videos of patients supposedly being thrashed have been combined. The video clips also claim that hospitals kill COVID-19 patients for financial gain.
The three videos, however, are unrelated to one another. On April 22, 2021, News First Kannada broadcasted a woman making allegations against the Oxford Hospital in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
In one of the other two video clips, in which an individual appears to kill a man in a hospital bed, the victim is not a COVID-19 patient and is unrelated to the state of Karnataka. The video was first posted on YouTube on May 19, 2020, and the incident took place in Bangladesh. The second clip depicts a Patiala private hospital worker thrashing a patient suffering from depression. According to the Karnataka police fact check, the local police took action after the incident.
Hence, misleading videos and reports are spread with the malicious intent of instilling panic in the general public to falsely claim that hospital workers kill COVID-19 patients for financial gain. Furthermore, the government does not have a policy that pays hospitals ₹ three lakhs over a COVID death.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.