State govt extends hospital room price caps, private hospitals unhappy
The state government of Maharashtra has extended its notification to cap price on beds reserved for Covid-19 beds in private hospitals. The notification has been in place since May 21 wherein the state government had capped the prices for oxygen beds and ICU beds for Covid-19 patients across all private hospitals in the state.
Keeping the view, the current pandemic situation still persistent in the state, the government has extended the notification up to February 2021.
The notification issued on December 15 states that the state government is satisfied that Maharashtra is threatened with the spread of Covid-l9 epidemic already declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization and accordingly in the exercise of the powers conferred as per the enabling provisions of various acts including the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, 2003 and the Maharashtra Essential service Maintenance (Amendment) Act, 2011 or MESMA.
Since the state of Maharashtra is still grappling with Covid-l9 epidemic, the government of Maharashtra has decided to extend operations of the notification issued on May 21. The notification had priced the cap on hospital facilities including oxygen beds and ICU beds.
Despite a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases, the state government’s extension on price capping is not fair, allege private hospitals.
Dr Sanjay Patil, hospital board chairman, IMA said, “The private hospitals were facing a huge loss during the peak of the pandemic and the notification was in place only for three months. Now with this extension, private hospitals are not happy. This means that the losses would continue further. The number of Covid-19 patients has gone down but the maintenance cost due to Covid-19 remains the same. The sanitation and separate ICU beds mean that the staff needs to be separate and the entire infrastructure and manpower is divided which means more incurring cost but less profit. The government must allow private hospitals to charge as per their management decisions since people now have the choice to opt between government hospitals or private hospitals.”
Dr H K Sale, executive director, Noble Hospitals said, “The non-Covid-19 patients are still not convinced to return for the non-emergency operations like hip or joint replacement surgeries. Extending price capping on Covid-19 beds means extending the losses which we have been incurring for months now.”
Pune district has about 2,411 Covid-19 patients in hospital isolation of the 8,857 active Covid-19 cases.