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Private hospital defies state government, charges exorbitant rates for covid treatment


Though state health department had on May 26 issued an order putting a cap on charges for COVID-19 treatment, a whopping Rs 6.38 lakhs have been charged for nine-day treatment and Rs 2.7 lakh for four days

TFM Report

Defying rates stipulated by the state government for treatment of covid-19 patients, a couple of private hospitals in the state treating COVID-19 patients are charging exorbitant amounts for the service. Some hospital bills accessed by TFM have shown total disregard of the cap fixed by the state government in its order dated May 26. Sources alleged that a private hospital even detained the body of the patient who died due to covid-19 complication till the bills were fully cleared.

As the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic rages on in Manipur with daily infection crossing the four-digit mark, all the patients cannot obtain bed at government medical facilities. In order to ensure that an ordinary person, who could not get a bed at any government medical facility, is not financially ruined for seeking treatment in a private hospital, the health department had on May 26 issued an order stipulating the upper limit of charges for COVID-19 treatment.

Manipur has been reporting a record number of new cases day after day. The increase in the number of serious cases meant that the health infrastructure of the state with a limited number of ICU facilities and ventilators has been stretched to its limits.

To meet the mounting challenge, the state government allowed a couple of premier private hospitals in the state to treat COVID-19 patients. Rumours of private hospitals charging exorbitant amounts for COVID treatment leaving many families bankrupt have been doing the round on social media platforms for quite some time.

Hospital bills, the copies of which are with TFM, have shown that it’s indeed not a rumour and private hospitals had been charging hefty amounts towards treatment costs. Interestingly, the private hospital continued to fleece patients in the guise of treating them even after the state health department put a cap on COVID treatment costs “to ensure that reasonable rates are charged by private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment”.

As per the health department  order, the upper limit of charges for COVID-19 treatment was set as — for general or isolation bed Rs 3,000 (without Oxygen support) and Rs 5,000 (with Oxygen support); Rs 7,000 for High Dependency Unit (HDU); Rs 8,000 for ICU without ventilator use, and Rs 10,000 for ICU with ventilator use. These rates are per day charges and include — registration charge, bed charge, nursing and boarding charge, medicine and drugs, Oxygen charges, and pathology and radiology test.

The order also mentioned that high-end medicines like Remdesivir can be charged separately at the rate of Rs 3,400 per dose (i.e. the current government of India prescribed rate). PPE costs may be charged separately based on actual use and the cost should be sub-allocated among patients based on rounds taken by the doctors or nurses, it added.

A 75-year-old COVID patient was admitted to Raj Medicity, North AOC, Imphal on May 25. She was admitted to an ICU bed on the same day. Unfortunately, she passed away on Saturday. 

According to the bill provided by the hospital authority, the total amount is Rs 2.7 lakh for the four days she was admitted. On careful examination of the bill, the hospital charged Rs 6,000 per day for “COVID ICU bed” and Rs 3,000 per hour (90 to 100 litre) ventilator. The charges for the ventilator alone amount to Rs 1.68 lakh.

This is in clear violation of the recent Manipur Government’s order, which fixed Rs 10,000 per day for “ICU bed with ventilator use”.

On the other hand, an 83-year-old was admitted to the same hospital on May 20 and discharged on Saturday. Raj Medicity has charged a stunning amount of Rs 6.38 lakh — around Rs 70,000 per day.

Rs 54,000 was charged separately for COVID ICU bed at Rs 6,000 per day, and Rs 2,400 per hour for ventilator (70 to 80 litre) and Rs 3,000 per hour for ventilator (90 to 100 litre). A total of around Rs 4.59 lakhs was charged for the ventilator support alone.

Meanwhile, the infamous Ema Hospital of Kakching is also not behind while charging exorbitant amounts, although it runs a “COVID care center”.

A 91-year-old male was treated by the hospital from May 15 to 22. Although ICU bed or ventilator services were not provided, the total amount stood at Rs around 3.67 lakhs (a “discount” of Rs 27,000 was mentioned in the bill).

For seven days, Rs 2.12 lakhs was charged only for Oxygen support. Ema Hospital charged Rs 2,400 per hour for “Oxygen 10 litre”; Rs 1,440 per hour for Oxygen 6 litre; Rs 720 per hour for Oxygen 3 litre; Rs 480 per hour for Oxygen 2 litre.

Meanwhile, Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF) on Saturday confronted the authority of Raj Medicity for flouting the government’s order. MSF general secretary Hijam Roshan told TFM that the hospital authority refused to abide by the price cap as the state government and private hospitals are apparently in “talks” about the new prices. And until that is finalised, the hospital’s pricing system will continue, the hospital authority said, added Roshan.

Roshan demanded strict action against Raj Medicity and other private hospitals flouting the government’s order on prices.

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