Telangana Monday gave permission to ICMR-approved private labs and diagnostic centres to conduct Covid-19 tests and capped the cost of test at Rs 2,200. The government also capped treatment cost at private hospitals. The cost per day for admission in isolation ward in a private hospital has been capped at Rs 4,000. Treatment without ventilator in ICU room has been capped at Rs 7,500 per day while treatment with ventilator in ICU has been capped at Rs 9,000 per day.
The cost includes monitoring and investigations like CBC, Urine routine, HIV spot, Anti HCV, HbsAg, Serum Creatinine, USG, 2D Echo, X-ray, ECG, Drugs, Consultations, Bed charges, and meals. Procedures like Ryle’s Tube insertion, urinary tract catheterisation are also included.
However, the charges mentioned above does not include the cost of “PPE, interventional procedures like, but not limited to, central line insertion, chemoport insertion, bronchoscopy procedures, biopsies, ascitic/pleural tapping, etc, which may be charged at a rack rate as on December 31, 2019″.
Also excluded from the charges above mentioned is the cost of COVID-19 testing – to be done as per actual cost fixed by the state government at Rs 2200.
“If any lab or diagnostic centre or any private hospital is found exploiting people or patients by over-charging or levying extra charges, we will take very strict action like seizing the facility or blacklisting it,” warned Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
The private labs conducting the tests have to inform health officials about test results. If the result is positive, government officials will start contact tracing. Hospitals admitting patients for Covid treatment also have to share their details with the government officials.
Health Minister Etela Rajender said that asymptomatic persons who test positive will be sent to home isolation. “Only those with symptoms shall be admitted in hospitals. We decided to allow private hospitals to treat corona cases as there are several requests from people. Already about 250 people are undergoing treatment at private hospitals,’’ he said. The minister said that ICMR has indicated that there is no community transmission in Telangana.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said that to instil confidence among people, the government will perform 50,000 tests in Hyderabad and surrounding areas covering nearly 30 Assembly constituencies. “We have absolute control over the coronavirus situation in the state. However, doubts are being raised over a number of tests. We have a clear understanding of what is the situation but to instil confidence, clear doubts and send a message to the people to not be afraid, we will conduct 50,000 tests in the next 10 days. These tests will be mostly in containment zones, areas surrounding containment zones, on vulnerable groups like doctors, nursing staff, health workers, and police,” Kumar said. The 30 Assembly segments are in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Vikarabad, Medchel, and Sangareddy districts.
Rajender said that compared to other states, the spread of virus is less in the state. “There is an increase in the percentage of recoveries while there is fall in the death rate. In the next ten days as a precautionary measure, 50,000 people from Uppal, LB Nagar, Maheswaram, Ibrahimpatnam, Rajendranagar, Seri Lingampalli, Chevella, Pargi, Vikarabad, Tandoor, Medchel, Malkajgiri, Qutballpur, Kukatpally, Malakpet, Amberpet, Musheerabad, Khairatabad, Jubilee Hills, Sanath Nagar, Nampally, Karawan, Gosha Mahal, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Yakutpura, Bahadurpura, Secunderabad, Secunderabad Contonment, Patancheru Assembly Constituencies would undergo Corona detection tests,” he added.
Private hospitals are directed to follow the guidelines issued by MOHFW which states that asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms need not be hospitalised and be sent back to their homes for isolation or to COVID care centers if their houses are not suitable for home isolation. Also, private laboratories are directed to strictly follow the testing protocols issued by the ICMR as updated from time to time.
Real-time updation of data on government portal
The government has also developed a digital platform, http://www.chfw.telangana.gov.in, where all hospitals and laboratories are required to enter the real-time data regarding detection or admission of a COVID-19 patient so as to enable tracing of contacts and take further action. The private hospitals shall apply to the director of Public Health to issue necessary user credentials and passwords after due scrutiny.
Twelve ICMR-approved Private Hospitals / Diagnostic Centers in Telangana
Apollo Hospital in Jubilee Hills; Apollo Health and Lifestyle in Bowenpally; American Institute of Pathology and Lab Sciences in Serilingampally; Biognosys Technologies in Medchal; Dr. Remedies Labs in Punjagutta; Medcis Pathlabs in New Bowenpally; Pathcare Labs in Medchal; Star Hospital in Banjara Hills; Tenet Diagnostics in Banjara Hills; Vijaya Diagnostic Centre in Himayath Nagar; Vimta Labs in Cherlapally; Yashoda Hospitals in Secunderabad.
The private laboratories have been directed to test samples of only those persons who show symptoms of COVID-19, Influenza-like-Illnesses (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI).
(With inputs from Rahul V Pisharody)
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