The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday issued orders to cap the charges for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals.
As per the new guidelines, in which hospitals are categorised based on amenities, the first two levels — Grade A1 and A2 — of hospitals are allowed to charge a daily fee of Rs 7,500 and Rs 15,000 for the general ward and ICU, respectively. For Grade A3 and A4 hospitals, the ceiling for charges per day in the general ward and ICU are fixed at Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar’s statement said the decision was made as per CM Edappadi K Palaniswami’s order. Earlier, a committee headed by state Health Secretary Beela Rajesh had submitted a report to the government on permissible charges for private hospitals. As per the order, no fee over and above the permitted rates can be collected from patients. Read in Tamil
The government had earlier fixed treatment costs for beneficiaries of the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme in government-notified private hospitals treating Covid.
However, these measures may not grant a reprieve to those who complain of exorbitant fees at private hospitals. Dr G R Ravindranath of the Doctors’ Association for Social Equality said the measures were a positive gesture, but may not bring down treatment costs. “Only 20% or a little more than what you would see in a normal bill would be charged under room rent or such services. But over 80% of a private hospital bill would often be under the cost of medicine, disposable medical equipment, consultation fee and other expensive tests. The government’s regulation should have been addressing these costs…”
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