Picture used for representational purpose only
MUMBAI: In what could bring respite to uninsured patients, the state on Thursday issued a revised notification to cap treatment charges for Covid-19 and nearly 200 non-Covid procedures in private hospitals. As per the order, the capped rates will apply to 80% of hospital beds, while the management can charge their own prices for the remaining 20%. The price capping will stay in effect till August 31.
The move is likely to open up nearly 2,600 beds and 471 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in the private sector, which were largely going vacant as hospitals were reluctant to admit patients. Another 3,000 non-Covid beds may also open up.
Under the ceiling, no hospital can charge a Covid-19 patient more than Rs 9,000 per day for an ICU bed with ventilator, Rs 7,500 for an ICU bed without ventilator and Rs 4,000 for isolation in a routine ward. These charges will include routine investigations such as CBC, urine tests, 2D echo, X-ray, basic medicines, doctor consultation and meals, among others. But patients would have to pay for Covid-19 testing (already capped at Rs 4,500), interventional procedures, high-end medicines, including immunoglobulins, or drugs such as tocilizumab and advanced investigations such as CT scan, MRI etc. The medicines have to be charged as per MRP. Capped prices are in the range of Rs 12,000 for angiography, Rs 3.23 lakh for bypass, Rs 2.40lakh for total knee replacement and Rs 75,000 for normal delivery.
The notification comes 20 days after the state came out with its first order on April 30 capping rates for many non-Covid procedures including cancer surgeries, bypass, knee and hip replacement in private hospitals following complaints of profiteering from patients. The new notification has reiterated hospitals cannot charge more than 10% of their net procurement cost for consumables such as PPEs . The previous notification was not implemented by several private hospitals who had contested the rates and the “arbitrary” move to regulate costs. The new notification states strict action, including cancellation of registration, will be taken against doctors, nurses and staff reluctant to report to work.
The state has asked all municipal commissioners and district collectors to create a dashboard where availability of beds can be seen in real time. “Civic authorities will have the power to allocate patients to these hospitals. We have asked hospitals to update bed status at least twice a day,” said Dr Sudhakar Shinde, CEO of the State Health Assurance Society.