BENGALURU: Twenty-six civil society organisations, including public heath activists, have criticized the rates fixed by the State government for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals. They deem it unaffordable and also called the government out for not consulting them, therefore lacking transparency.
The decision on the rates was made after discussion with private hospitals only, excluding public health professionals, patients’ groups, civil society, etc, the statement said. The government notification states that 50 per cent of private beds shall be reserved for patients referred by public health authorities, including general ward and ICU beds with and without ventilators categories.
The groups in their statement issued on Thursday, said, “The notification has not provided the specific number of beds that will be made available in each hospital under each category. This provides leeway for private hospitals to reserve the more expensive and profitable beds, i.e. the ICU beds with and without ventilator support.” The fixed rates do not cover the costs of unforeseen complications, surgeries, other comorbid conditions and pregnancy, the statement said. An additional 10% may be charged for twin-sharing and 25% for single rooms.
There will be no ceiling for suites, the government said. “If patients are told that general or multi-share wards are not available, they will be forced to pay more for single rooms or twin-sharing wards,” the statement said. The groups demanded that a nodal officer be appointed for monitoring the functioning of private hospitals and address grievances. They also demanded that fixed rates be extended to patients covered by private insurance.
“The government needs to ensure that differential quality of treatment is not provided to patients referred by the government, those paying fixed rates out of pocket, and those paying full rates through private insurance,” they said. The groups include Naavu Bharathiyaru Karnataka, All India Drug Action Network, Campaign for Dignified and Affordable Healthcare, Drug Action Forum-Karnataka, etc.