Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has decided to cap the daily rates for COVID-19 treatment of patients at private hospitals across the state. This comes after complaints from the public of overcharging by private hospitals and the mounting pressure on government hospitals. Earlier this week, the state had permitted those covered under the CM’s health insurance scheme (economically weaker sections) to avail free treatment in private hospitals.
As per the latest statement from the Tamil Nadu government, for asymptomatic and mild symptomatic patients, private hospitals under A1 and A2 category can charge no more than Rs.7500 per day, whereas the day rate has been capped at Rs.5000 for Grade A3 and A4 hospitals.
In the case of treatment in Intensive Care Units(ICUs) hospitals across grades A1-A4 cannot charge more than Rs.15000 per day. The government has issued strict guidelines that the hospitals must not charge above the stipulated amount.
The government has been emphasising that both government and private hospitals must unite in the fight against coronavirus to ensure that the health infrastructure can deal with the pandemic in a better manner.
As on Friday, Tamil Nadu has seen a total of 28694 cases, of which 12697 are active. The state has been reporting over a 1000 cases for the past six days. It needs to be noted that despite the high number of cases (second highest in the country) Tamil Nadu has seen a relatively low number of deaths, 232 fatalities as of Friday.
The recovery rate in the southern Indian state has also been quite high, with more than half - 15762 have been cured.
So far, the state government has been providing free-of-cost treatment to COVID-19 patients at government hospitals across the state and other specially setup COVID-19 care facilities.
Today’s announcement also means that COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals is made more affordable than earlier. There were several reports in recent weeks about private hospitals fleecing COVID-19 patients (charging over Rs. 20,000 per day), and the State Health Minister had assured that the government would step in and cap the treatment costs.
Fixing the rates for treatment is also said to give a little impetus too private hospitals. Earlier, the scenario was such that private hospitals did not encourage many insured patients and were overcharging those who were admitted. But now that costs are capped, the patients also can breathe a sigh of relief, while the hospitals also can earn a little revenue, rather than having a good number of their beds empty.