The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday fixed a price cap on Covid-related services provided by private hospitals. As per the order, private hospitals with NABH accreditation in grade A cities will be offering isolation beds for a day at Rs 8,500 for moderate sickness; Rs 12,750 for ICU in case of severe sickness; and Rs 15,300 for ventilator care for those with very severe sickness.
Currently, seven hospitals in Ghaziabad and five hospitals in Noida have been approved by the state government to provide Covid treatment. Till Friday evening, Noida reported 1,008 active cases with 2,221 recoveries and 31 deaths while Ghaziabad reported 1,341 active cases followed by 1,459 recoveries and 63 deaths.
“By allowing private hospitals to function with capped prices, the long-standing demand by people for hospitals will be met. This is another way of ensuring that the private hospitals also garner revenue. In this way, the manpower and resources available with the private hospitals will also be put to good use”, said the state government order.
Presently, Kailash, Jaypee, Yatharth, Sharda and Fortis Hospital offer Covid treatment in Gautam Buddh Nagar while Le Crest, Max and Yashoda Hospital offer the same in Ghaziabad. According to the order, the cost will include bed, food, amenities, PPE and all treatment relevant to the condition.
The rates will also club cost of management of underlying co-morbid conditions like hypertension, diabetes among others. The capped price does not include RT-PCR testing and administering of advanced medicines like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, the order said.
Stating that the order will be abided by, private hospitals have been left with little choice. “We have been asked to increase our capacity from 400 to 650 beds after a meeting was held with the nodal officers. We have also been offering free treatment as we were one of the first private Covid hospitals. Presently, the cost of private treatment is roughly 10-15% more than the capped rate. At this point, we cannot think of the unfeasible economic costs since it is a pandemic and the health of the patients is of utmost importance”, said a Sharda University spokesperson.
A spokesperson of Kailash Hospital said, “In our Greater Noida facility, we have 100 beds that are free of cost. We have been following all guidelines and prices for private facilities were fixed earlier as well. We will charge as per the order. We have been co-operating with the government and will continue to do so.”
The move has brought into question the long-term sustainability of capping prices. “There is no denying that private hospitals are doing their best in the times of a pandemic. Healthcare is an essential resource. But the fact also remains that Covid is here to stay and will not subside in the coming term. If the decision to cap prices was for a few days, it would be different. But the price of healthcare increasing constantly and the cost of revenue not matching, a significant impact will be seen on middle-scale hospitals whether its Noida, Ghaziabad or any other region”, said Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Secretary General, NATHEALTH- Healthcare Federation of India.
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