Coronavirus Outbreak: Maharashtra releases regulations to control treatment cost at private hospitals

Updated: May 22, 2020, 12:14 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

In the notification, principal secretary Pradeep Vyas, stated that the there can be no difference in the quality of treatment between patients admitted in 80 per cent of the beds and those admitted in the 20 per cent category

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

Following numerous complaints raised by patients over exorbitantly high medical bills charged by private hospitals during the pandemic, the state government issued a notification on Thursday to control the charges levied by private healthcare providers. For cases where the hospitals are not part of the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) and if patients are not covered by health insurance or have exhausted their insurance cover, the state government has announced a cap on charges for both COVID as well as non COVID patients and these rates will be applicable till August 31.

According to the notification which applies to hospitals, nursing homes and maternity homes that are run by charitable trusts, 80 per cent of total operational bed capacity will be regulated by rates applying to both isolation and non-isolation beds which will be regulated by a government authority. The hospital management can charge their regular rates for only the remaining 20 per cent of the beds and patients will be admitted on a first come first serve basis.

In the notification, principal secretary Pradeep Vyas, stated that the there can be no difference in the quality of treatment between patients admitted in 80 per cent of the beds and those admitted in the 20 per cent category. According to the rates fixed in the notification, charges for isolating a patient is limited to Rs 4000 a day while charges for ICU without a ventilator cannot exceed Rs 7500 a day and charges for ICU with a ventilator will be capped at Rs 9000 a day. These charges, however, will not include cost of PPE kits, interventional procedures, COVID testing, high-end drugs and scans including MRI, CT and PET among others. The notification has also listed costs for other medical procedures for non-COVID patients as well.

Under these regulations, private hospitals, nursing homes and maternity homes will have to display the status of the availability of beds as well as the details of the rates in a prominent location in the premises. The hospital staff will be responsible for explaining all the details of the charges to the patients. While the government has allowed hospital managements to levy additional charges for other services, the charges cannot exceed 5 per cent of the total bill amount.

Since the civic body and district collectors will oversee the running of the 80 per cent of the beds in private medical facilities, Vyas has also directed the authorities to develop an online digital platform where the current status for occupancy of beds in various categories can be displayed.

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