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“Getting COVID-19 treatment might be more fearful than being COVID-19 positive”

High prices in Delhi hospitals. Nationwide price regulation needed.

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There was a viral buzz through all handles of social media after a standee listed with COVID 19 treatment charges was put on display at a private health facility in Delhi.” ₹ 72,000 per day for ICU with ventilator and ₹ 53,000 per day for ICU without the ventilator”, the standee showed. Even charges for General Ward was ₹ 25090 per day.

Social media took this for intense criticism due to exorbitant prices it demanded in the name of COVID-19 treatment.

coronavirus
(picture of standee at Max Healthcare)

When the Max Healthcare facility at Pratapganj was notified of this viral case, an explanation was provided from their side. ”It did not carry all the facts such as inclusions of routine tests, routine medicines, doctor and nurse charges, etc”, said a tweet of Max Healthcare.

A tweet ofromMax Healthcare

Even after considering all the inclusive charges, is it still feasible for the majority to get a treatment? Does life matter only for the 1 % rich class?

Let’s understand the situation deeply :

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Case of “Saima Furqan’s uncle”:

Saima Furqan’s 60-year-old uncle was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi after being covid19 positive. After 30 days of treatment in the private health facility since April, the family was billed an amount of ₹ 16,14,596.

What struck Furqan in the bill was a flat rate of Rs 10,000 per day for the personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by medical staff treating her uncle. The family paid ₹ 2.9 lakh for PPE alone, which is 18% of their total bill.

“We struggled with the bill and had to take loans”, said Saima in an interview with IndiaToday

There have been instances where the patients are charged a hefty amount of ₹ 5,00,000, as a registration fee.

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Another family based in Mumbai who lost a member to coronavirus was shocked when handed a bill amount of ₹9.6 lakhs, in which only consumables’ were worth ₹ 2.5 lakhs. They were even told that cost of PPE kits, gloves, shoes, caps were the responsibility of the family and will not be borne by the hospital.

According to Mr. Bill Gates, a prominent member of WHO(World Health Organisation), the development of COVID-19 vaccine is under due process and would not be available before 2021”

So what are they charging for?  Ventilators and PPE kits ? for just keeping the patients under observation?  currently, no medication is recommended for COVID- 19.

Even a well earning high class would fall in debt getting treated for just a few weeks in the private hospitals. During a global crisis due to pandemic, every citizen is drained out, if not financially, mentally for sure. The private treatment facilities are giving undue stress on everyone’s mind. It looks as if “the fear of getting treatment might overwhelm the fear of being  COVID-19 positive”. The government should come up with a regulated tab for private hospitals in Delhi as soon as possible. After all, Healthcare remains one of the basic rights of every citizen.

Delhi remains one of the states to have no regulation over private treatment facilities despite continuously increasing cases of COVID 19. States like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have regulated the prices :

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However, states like Gujarat do not cover the ceiling rate for ICU. It does not cover the Doctor’s charges, medicines nor lab test charges on the regulated price slab. Maharashtra excludes the cost of PPE, expensive medicines, and diagnostics charges. Maharashtra and Gujarat rates have various exclusions that leave much scope for the bill to get raised, as in the case above.

“Patients are being treated only in the government facilities ”, It was a justification statement given by the states for not regulating the prices in private hospitals yet. If the upsurge in COVID cases continues, which is very likely to happen. Soon every other state might get flooded with patients, causing a ruckus over government facilities, leaving no other way but to depend on private healthcare. The States nationwide should step up to regulate the prices as early as possible. This is the only way to save people from being a victim of “Loot” by these private health facilities.

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