Amid reports that some private hospitals are exploiting patients suffering from deadly coronavirus, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to cap its treatment costs. State Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said that a rate card for treatment of patients suffering from COVID-19 will be fixed in a couple of days.
Emphasizing on the need for ‘rate fixation,’ Vijayabaskar said that two rounds of talks with private hospitals of the state on the issue of rates for treating coronavirus patients have been concluded.
When asked to comment on reports that some COVID-19 patients have been fleeced, the minister said that it has come to the notice of the Tamil Nadu government that some hospitals are charging much.
“This is (high charges) for sure wrong. This is the time to serve; do service,” he said after inspecting a new COVID Care Centre (CCC) at Pulianthope in North Chennai. The centre to house COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms has a bed capacity of 1,400.
There are several CCCs functional in the state and apart from four large government medical college hospitals in Chennai, they are operational in several other locations with some being at private colleges.
Throwing light on the details of the rate card, the minister said that it will be in tune with the facilities provided at a health facility and there will be specific mention of charges for general ward, shared spaces, and individual rooms. Once the rate chart is released, action will be taken against those private hospitals that would be found overcharging as per the Clinical Establishments Act.
The minister said that the government in talks with the private laboratories to cut down rates for coronavirus testing. He said that the rate was fixed at Rs 4,500 for testing following the guidelines of ICMR and negotiations were on to bring it down further.
“The government has fixed Rs 2,500 as the fee for testing using the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme in private facilities,” he said. In the government runt hospitals, the testing is being done free of cost.