By Joymala Bagchi
New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): Private hospitals in Delhi have expressed concern over the capping of prices for COVID-19 treatment and said that they should be consulted before announcing the final decision over prices.
However, private hospitals have started charging according to the new pricing which was recommended by Dr VK Paul committee.
The committee recommended rates for isolation beds between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. ICUs without ventilators will charge between Rs 13,000 to Rs 15,000. For ICUs with ventilators, the costing will be Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000. Significantly, all the charges would include PPE costs which earlier the private hospitals were charging separately.
ANI spoke to a few hospitals providing COVID-19 treatment to understand their concerns.
"Too many restrictions on pricing results in the use of low-cost medicines especially when there are no standard protocols. It restricts experimentation and research with newer modalities of treatment. Medicines should be kept out of packages. Simultaneously, healthcare workers (HCWs) need to be brought under regulations so as to avoid absenteeism and demand for undue wages," Dr Dinesh Batra, Director, Ujala Cygnus Hospitals told ANI.
Dr HS Chhabra, Medical Director, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre said, "We support the decision of capping the price for treatment of COVID patients. However, for setting a realistic price following a consultative approach is important that will take in consideration the views of all the relevant stakeholders to know the ground realities or should be made in discussion with IMA (Indian Medical Association) and such medical bodies."
"In this pandemic, new expenses have been added. For example, PPE kits, some staff who have to be sent on quarantine, staff working with COVID patients who can't go home need to stay back and hospitals have to arrange for their food and accommodation, that add on to the expenses. Such aspects need to be factored in while deciding a cap on treatment price," told Dr Chhabra.
The hospital management stressed that the expenses of healthcare institutions do not only involve medicine and facility maintenance.
"Whether it is profitable or not, price capping as suggested by the government has to be followed and we have started charging as per government's capping. Definitely, there is a loss but somehow we have to be with the nation," said management from Primus Super Speciality Hospital. At present, the hospital is treating 28 COVID patients.
Earlier, there have been several reports of patient's families complaining of exorbitant prices been charged by the private hospitals where they went out of necessity.
A top private hospital management treating COVID-19 patients said, "We do comply with government rules regulation and would do so always however we too want govt to listen to us before hitting down the final decision. It's not at all about profit or loss but we have to take other things like hospital facilities, food quality, safety, doctors and health workers' safety into account and directly or indirectly every above-mentioned things requires financial assistance to function smoothly."
The government has also capped the pricing of the RT-PCR test to Rs 2,400 from Rs 4,500. ANI has earlier reported that many labs have shunned the home service following the price capping.
According to the Delhi government health bulletin, the total count of cases was 70,390 of which there are 26,588 active cases, 41,437 people have recovered while 2,365 succumbed to the infection. (ANI)