What does it cost to treat a coronavirus patient? Here’s a break up
At least 80 per cent of the Covid-19 patients are being treated in government hospitals across the country. Though, leading private hospitals do have treatment facilities, people who can afford or in special cases as directed by the health department or government turn to them.
What is the cost involved in treating a Covid-19 patient? Though it varies from patient to patient, depending upon the load of virus, related ailments, age and other factors, let us see in a normal case how much it costs to the exchequer?
On an average, treatment of a normal Covid-19 carrier, without ventilators or other life-saving equipment, costs between Rs 20,000 and 25,000 daily, a senior doctor at the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital says.
That means a 14-day treatment of a patient costs between Rs 2,80,000 to 3,50,000. Usually, patients are discharged after three to five consecutive tests turn negative. In some cases, tests will go up to eight to ten to get a definite result, say doctors. Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor tested negative after six consecutive tests.
Take the case of a swab or fluid test. The swab test of a suspected patient costs Rs 4,500 (the Supreme Court fixed this fee for private labs after hearing experts and others). The price of the test kit alone is Rs 3,000. If a person is tested or shows symptoms of Covid-19, he‘s supposed to travel only in an ambulance. Usually a hospital ambulance or a private one ferries him or her to the hospital at government expense.
Once moved to the isolation ward, there are certain specifications for such patients: each room should have a separate toilet and usually no other beds are allowed; if the patient is aged or suffering from multiple complications, ventilator is necessary.
In Kottayam, a couple, 94-year-old man and his 88-year-old wife, was on ventilator for more than a week. Some of the private hospitals charge between Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 per day for a ventilator.
Room rent will depend upon the classification of the hospitals, but the cheapest will cost between Rs 1,000 and 1,500 a day.
At least 200 personal protection equipment kits are required in a Covid-19 hospital with 100 beds. Doctors and nurses will have to change their kits every four hours. If you are nursing a critically ill with heavy load of virus, PPE kits of nursing staff have to be changed frequently, said a nursing superintendent of a Covid-19 hospital.
One standard PPE kits costs between Rs 750 to 1,000. Price of the medicines will vary from person to person. Antibiotics, anti-vitriol and other medicines cost between Rs 500 to 1,000 daily for a patient besides his food.
“Money won’t be a constraint in the fight against Covid-19, the CM has given special instructions to us. So we are pumping in money to get best treatment to our patients. Even some of the foreigners who had undergone treatment at our hospitals vouch they had best treatment,” said state health minister K K Shailaja.
As of now the government is putting up a brave face but it will leave a gaping hole in the exchequer, say medical experts.