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Home / India News / Covid treatment rates set by Goa govt for private hospitals brews anger

Covid treatment rates set by Goa govt for private hospitals brews anger

The BJP government has defended the decision citing the need for a viable arrangement for private hospitals.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2020, 13:42 IST
Gerard de Souza  | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
Gerard de Souza | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Goa’s public hospitals are experiencing a bed shortage and the cost of treatment at private hospitals is being considered to be prohibitive by people complaining against the high rates set by the government.
Goa’s public hospitals are experiencing a bed shortage and the cost of treatment at private hospitals is being considered to be prohibitive by people complaining against the high rates set by the government. (ANI Photo)

The rates set by Goa government for treatment of Covid-19 infected patients in state’s private hospitals have invited sharp criticism from Opposition parties who have accused the ruling party of profiteering in the times of the pandemic. The chief minister has however, defended the rates, claiming it needed to be sustainable for the private sector.

The Goa government recently capped the rent for a bed in a general ward of a private hospital at Rs 12,000 per day for Covid patients. The rates for rooms-- on a twin sharing basis-- was capped at Rs 15,000 per day and Rs 18,000 per day was the upper limit set for a single private room, while Rs 25,000 per day was set for a bed in an ICU with a ventilator.

The charges include all regular expenses including bed charges, nursing services, resident doctor fee, nutritional diet, PPE kits for the staff and routinely prescribed medicines, but is exclusive of charges incurred for consulting a specialist, an intensivist, a diagnostic intensivist, or the cost of special drugs or equipment or any other procedures or surgeries carried out during the treatment.

“This is loot. The Goa BJP Government is looting the people in the name of Covid. At these rates, people will prefer to die at home than be treated in hospitals,” Congress spokesperson Amarnath Panjikar said.

“If affordability is the concern, then the government should take control of all private hospitals as needed under the National Emergency and Epidemic Act... The interest of the citizens is sacrosanct,” Aashish Kamat an activist said.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant however claimed that the rates were decided in consultation with medical professionals while keeping the expenses private hospitals need to bear for caring for their patients.

“We have decided these rates in consultation with the medical professionals and with the private hospitals themselves. We have to take them into confidence, too, and keep in mind that it is affordable for them. They have also said that they need to be able to manage the facilities with dedicated staff who end up getting infected and who then need to be rotated with fresh staff,” Sawant said.

“Besides, they also ensure that a resident doctor is there to attend to the patient besides nurses,” he added.

The Goa government’s decision to cap the rates comes after several weeks of reluctance to do so. Earlier health minister Vishwajit Rane had said that those getting admitted to private hospitals were doing so out of their personal choice since similar treatment was available at government run facilities for free.

Since then, however, a bed shortage has begun to choke the government-run facilities and a bed at a private facility is proving to be prohibitive cost-wise.

Those treated at private facilities include Union minister Shripad Naik, Goa’s director of health services Dr Jose D’Sa and several MLAs who were infected with severe symptoms.

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