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COVID-19: Govt panel recommends capping private hospitals' rates

By Ruchika Chitravanshi and Sohini Das
June 20, 2020 19:57 IST
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The committee has recommended Rs 8,000-10,000, Rs 13,000-15,000, and Rs 15,000-18,000 including PPE costs for isolation beds, and ICUs with or without ventilator, respectively, to all hospitals.
Currently, hospitals are charging Rs 24,000-25,000, Rs 34,000-43,000 & Rs 44,000-54,000 (excluding PPE cost).
Ruchika Chitravanshi and Sohini Das report.

 

Photograph: PTI Photo

A NITI Aayog committee, set up by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, has recommended capping the rates charged by private hospitals in Delhi for isolation beds, and intensive care units with or without ventilator support to 'provide relief to the common man' as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The ministry in a tweet said: 'Committee has recommended Rs 8,000-10,000, Rs 13,000-15,000, and Rs 15,000-18,000 including PPE costs for isolation beds, and ICUs with or without ventilator, respectively, to all hospitals as compared to the current charges of Rs 24,000-25,000, Rs 34,000-43,000 & Rs 44,000-54,000 (excluding PPE cost).'

'FICCI members accept the decision on cost of COVID-19 treatment in Delhi, though it may not be financially sustainable. Private medical facilities will ensure that they contribute to the best of their abilities and that all facilities required for COVID-19 treatment are made available to the government,' Alok Roy, chair-FICCI Health Services Committee, and chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals.

The Supreme Court on Friday said: 'We impress upon Delhi government to be more vigilant in knowing about the lapses in functioning of the hospitals and patients care and take immediate and remedial steps to redeem the miseries of patients.'

On April 30, the SC had sought response from the government on a plea filed by advocate Sachin Jain, alleging that private hospitals were 'commercially exploiting' patients in this hour of crisis.

The SC recently also pulled up the state governments for mismanagement of the pandemic calling the situation deplorable and horrific.

The Home Ministry said sample testing had also been doubled in Delhi after Shah’s intervention.

'27,263 testing samples were collected in Delhi from June 15-17 against the daily collection of 4,000-4,500 earlier,' a ministry spokesperson said.

"The government may not be aware of the expenses in the private sector. There has to be a realistic estimate on what costs the institutions bear, be it on PPEs or isolation facilities, or quarantining and rotating their staff," H S Chhabra, medical director of Indian Spinal Injuries Center, said.

"A collaborative approach, wherein stakeholders work together to enhance the capability of the health care system is critical...It is essential that the private health care sector in Delhi as well as other states which are ready to support the government 'survives to serve'," said Preetha Reddy, vice-chairperson, Apollo Hospitals, and also president of Nathealth, a hospitals and diagnostics sector industry body.

Chhabra said while elective surgeries have almost stopped, the fixed expenses remain.

"How will private hospitals survive as their turnovers have reduced? Some countries have support packages for hospitals. India does not have any such package. We need to consider the fact that institutions need to survive, and if they collapse, it defeats the whole purpose," he said.

Sources said hospitals have seen revenues topple 60-80 per cent due to decline in patient footfall.

"Many small hospitals and nursing homes in tier II & III cities have become almost non-operational," Roy said.

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Ruchika Chitravanshi and Sohini Das
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