Govt Fixed COVID Prices, But Mumbai Pvt Hospitals Aren’t Listening

Video Editor: Varun Sharma
Video producer: Hera Khan

Maharashtra has the most number of coronavirus cases in the country and is probably the worst hit by the pandemic. The Quint spoke to hospitals in Mumbai to check how they are functioning amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

"“If he or she is a COVID patient, then Rs 21,000 per day for general ward, Rs 25,000 package per day for twin bed. And Rs 30,000 per day for a deluxe room. For ICU there is a package of Rs 32,000 per day and one will have to make a deposit of Rs 1.5 lakh.”" - Private hospital staff (Identity withheld)

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope's tweet on 1 May announced that the government will give free treatment to every patient in Maharashtra. But forget free treatment, private hospitals are not even charging as per the rates set by the government.

As per government rates, if you are admitted to the general ward, you will be charged Rs 4,000 per day. If you are admitted to an isolation ward of a private hospital, you will be charged Rs 7,500 per day. And if you are on ventilator, you must pay Rs 9,000 per day.

The government has also directed the hospitals to charge only 10 percent extra on the face value of PPE kits. However, despite government directives, many hospitals are charging as much as Rs 20,000-30,000 per day.

Another big issue is the expensive treatment of coronavirus. You might be lucky and find a bed for yourself but a poor person will die without treatment – this is the kind of situation in hospitals.

If you have health insurance, the insurance company will pay the cost of the treatment but all the extra charges will have to be paid by you.

The cost of PPE, CT scan, and other tests will have to be borne by you.

Hospitals are charging Rs 8,000-9,000 for PPE kits. A good quality PPE kit actually costs around Rs 650.

The treatment for COVID-19 doesn't need any kind of surgery. The patient is given medicine depending on the symptoms. If a person has a fever, they are prescribed medicines accordingly. Oxygen and ventilators are also arranged by the hospitals if need be.

So the big question is, why are hospitals charging such high rates? And does the Maharashtra government not know this? And if it does know, then why is it silent?

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