West Bengal caps Covid-19 treatment costs at private hospitals

Kolkata | Updated on June 26, 2020

West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, on Friday announced a set of guidelines that cap treatment cost of Covid-19 patients at private hospitals.

The move comes amidst growing pressure from opposition parties in view of “exorbitant charges” levied by private healthcare providers.

The CM said that testing charges will be capped at ₹2,250, as against the previous ₹4,500. Covid tests are done for free at State-run hospitals.

The PPE and other personal protective equipment costs will be capped at ₹1,000 per day at private healthcare facilities while doctors’ home visit charges will be at ₹1,000 per day as against previous instances when fees was as high as ₹5,000 a day.

“These are three guidelines that will be sent to private hospitals. More caps and guidelines are to be announced. The Chief Secretary and the health department are working on them,” she told reporters during a press conference at the State Secretariat (Nabanna).

Incidentally, the State government had previously issued an advisory making it a penal offence under the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act, 2017 if a private hospital denies admission to a patient.

Updating availability of beds

Private hospitals who are treating Covid-19 patients have also been asked to report the number of avilable beds with the State health department. The vacant bed count is uploaded on the health department site on a daily basis.

In previous meetings between the State health department and major private hospitals, the State chief secretary had reportedly questioned why mortality figures of Covid-19 patients are higher in case of private hospitals and nursing homes as compared to government ones.

The West Bengal government has so far requisitioned 53 private hospitals and nursing homes and converted them in specialty facilities for Covid-19 treatment. This apart, 16 dedicated government-run Covid-19 hospitals are also present in the State.

Published on June 26, 2020

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