Covid-19 patients below poverty line to get free treatment in Andhra’s private hospitals
In a first of its kind initiative, the Andhra Pradesh government has announced inclusion of Covid-19 under the Dr YSR Arogyasri, a state government health scheme, aimed at providing cashless treatment to affected patients in private and corporate hospitals.
An order to this effect was issued by special chief secretary (medical and health) K S Jawahar Reddy on Wednesday. “The decision was taken in the wake of reports that private hospitals were not admitting Covid-19 patients and there are instances of patients running from hospital to hospital,” Reddy said.
Under the Dr YSR Arogyasri scheme, cashless treatment is provided to patients falling below-poverty line (BPL), state government employees, working journalists and pensioners.
As per the order, the government has notified a list of designated government and private hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients completely free of cost. District collectors have already been empowered to take over wards, rooms and blocks and if necessary, entire hospitals in the private sector, based on the requirement.
The government has instructed private hospitals to start isolated rooms, wards and blocks to treat suspected Covid-19 cases duly following safety measures. The allocation of beds will be monitored by the respective district administrations to ensure optimal usage of resources.
Accordingly, the state government has classified all private hospitals into three categories: exclusive Covid-19 hospitals which will treat only Covid-19 patients, Covid-19 and Non-Covid-19 hospitals which can cater to both types of patients with separate facilities for Covid-19 patients and non-Covid-19 hospitals which will be allowed only to treat non-Covid-19 patients.
The hospital management is responsible for transferring the normal patients to Covid-19 hospitals, if they develop any symptoms of the viral disease.
The order further fixed the rates to be charged by the private hospitals for Covid-19 patients. For patients who have mild symptoms for Covid-19 with no abnormality, they would be charged a fee of Rs 3,250 per day. For critical care patients who need treatment in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but without ventilator, the fee would be Rs 5,480 per day.
For patients, who are admitted to ICU with oxygen support, the hospitals can charge Rs 5,980 per day. Those who are put on ventilator support in the ICU, the charges will be Rs 9,580; for patients with Sepsis the charges are Rs 6,280 without ventilator and Rs 10,380 with ventilator.
“If the patient falls under the Dr YSR Arogyasri scheme, the treatment will be free and the government will reimburse the fee as per the fixed rates to the hospital management. Those who do not fall under the scheme will have to pay the charges as fixed by the government,” the special chief secretary said in the order.
If the non-critical Covid-19 patient prefers to stay in a private room, the private hospitals can charge an additional amount of Rs 600 apart from the price fixed for non-critical Covid-19 cases.
The government instructed that no patient who requires immediate medical attention can be turned away by any hospital and treatment should be administered without waiting for the results of the Covid-19 test. “Until the patient tests negative, he/she should be treated as a Covid-19 case,” the order said.