NEW DELHI: Amid growing concerns that some private hospitals are billing Covid-19 patients and their families exorbitantly, an association of private hospitals across India and FICCI member hospitals have come up with two independent set of rates for treatment of infected patients admitted in private hospitals.
The Association of Healthcare Providers, which claims to represent vast majority of private hospitals, has suggested that for patients in general wards the fee per day should be fixed at Rs 15,000 per day, in wards with oxygen it should be Rs 20,000 per day and isoltation ICUs can cost Rs 25,000 every day.
The AHPI has also proposed that rate per day for isolation ICUs with ventilator support can be fixed at Rs 35,000.
It made it clear thought the pricing does not include high end drugs like immunoglobulin, tocilizumab and plasma therapy which, if used, will be charged separately. Also, management management of co-morbid complication will be charged as per actuals.
FICCI task force on Covid 19 on the other hand in its proposal sent to the Union government has suggested fixing these rates from Rs 17,000—Rs 45,000 per day.
The suggested prices come even as kin of some Covid 19 patients in some cities, including Delhi have complained of hefty bills being charged by several private hospitals in the treatment of the infectious disease that has taken the world by storm. In the wake of these charges, some state governments such as Maharashtra and Rajasthan have made moves to fix price limit on treatment cost for the disease in private hospitals.
The costing suggested is based on the assessment carried out in hospitals, which are treating Covid-19 patients and have the experience of actual costing relating to use of PPEs, infection control measures, HR aspect of Healthcare workers, who are deployed in shifts and need to be quarantined, said the two industry bodies.
“ With the increase in the number of Covid-19 patients in the country, many hospitals in the private sector have undergone infrastructural changes to set up separate isolation wards and othe r necessary changes have been initiated to put in place a guideline compliant structure totreat COVID 19 patients and to ensure best clinical outcome,” said the AHPI. “However here has been a lack of clarity about costing which has now been addressed by the costing criterion.”
Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI and Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals Group, said that in these difficult times, the private healthcare sector is doing its best to serve with high standards of ethics, transparency, professional competency and compassion.
Some patient groups, meanwhile, lambasted the proposals saying that announcements of self regulation by various hospital association are simply attempts to subvert efforts of the various governments to expand affordable access to COVID-19 treatment.
“During the pandemic, corporate hospitals have been indulging in profiteering with impunity. Increasingly, and as infection spreads, states are trying to making regulate treatment charges,” said Malini Aisola of the All India Drug Action Network.
“ The rates being proposed anyway excessive but also misleading because they exclude high-end medicines, PPEs etc. which contribute hugely to bills. The rates also do not cover co-morbidities which is the case for most severe patients.”
“Leaving that aside, the rates are meaningless simply because they cannot be enforced,” she also said adding that hospitals are doing PR stunts to manage their negative image for fleecing patients during the crisis.