COVID-19 treatment rates to be reduced in rural areas: Maha health minister

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(Eds: adding quotes) Mumbai, Jun 1 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced rationalisation of the rates of COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals which is expected to give relief to patients in rural areas.

The earlier rates, prescribed by the government during the first wave of the pandemic, were based on the rates prevalent in Mumbai, said health minister Rajesh Tope.

'We have now decided to rationalise them further, so the charges will be reduced in tehsil- and district-level hospitals,' he said.

Tope was speaking to reporters after attending a meeting with cabinet colleagues and officials.

The government had earlier issued a notification which said that 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients admitted at private hospitals will be treated as per the government-prescribed rates.

As this notification expired on May 31, a review was taken and a fresh rate card is being issued whereby charges in rural areas would be less, said Tope.

'The rates have been classified into rural and urban areas. The proposal has been sent to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for approval,' he said.

It would significantly bring down the COVID-19 treatment expenses in rural areas, the minister added.

Flying squads of the state government have been empowered to carry out inspections and initiate action if hospitals are found to be overcharging, Tope said.

The government has also identified the private hospitals where the coronavirus infection treatment would be covered under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY), the state's health insurance scheme, he said.

'The government has announced various packages for treatment covering all the costs including doctor's visit and bed charges,' he added.

Besides COVID-19, mucormycosis (black fungus) treatment is also covered under the MJPJAY, he noted.

'There are some 4,000 cases of mucormycosis in the state at present. We are trying to make the medicine for it available to all patients,' the health minister said. PTI ND KRK KRK

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