The Maharashtra government on Tuesday cracked the whip on private hospitals, prohibiting them from exorbitantly charging Covid patients. The government has capped hospital rates on the basis of the cities they are located in – Class A or B or C. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed district collectors and municipal commissioners to strictly follow the government directives. Cities have been categorised on the basis of insurance premiums and various allowances. The cost of treatment for patients, especially in rural areas, will be reduced by classifying and fixing the rates of related treatments on the same criteria.
Also, a provision for flying squads to re-inspect and take action against hospitals for inflated rates has been put in place, said Dr Sudhakar Shinde, Chief Executive Officer, State Health Guarantee Society.
The notification for rates fixed by the government for 80 per cent of Covid beds in private hospitals and for the remaining 20 per cent beds as per the rates fixed by private hospitals came to an end on Monday. The government issued a fresh notification on Tuesday, extending the 80:20 bed formula and the capped daily rates based on the classification of cities.
In the new notification, the government has prescribed the maximum rates that Covid patients can be charged.
For regular wards, for segregation, the hospitals will charge Rs 4,000 for Class A cities, Rs 3,000 for Class B cities and Rs 2,400 for Class C cities per day. This charge includes the necessary maintenance, nursing, tests, medication, cost of beds and meals. The cost of the Covid test has to be paid at the fixed rate. Only major tests and examinations, as well as high-level drugs, are excluded.
For ICUs with ventilator and isolation, the charges are Rs 9,000 for Class A cities, Rs 6,700 for Class B cities and Rs 5,400 for Class C cities per day.
For ICU and Isolation Only, the charges are Rs 7,500 for Class A cities, Rs 5,500 for Class B cities and Rs 4,500 for Class C cities per day.
According to the government notification, Class A cities include Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Area (excluding Bhiwandi, Vasai-Virar), Pune and Pune Metropolitan Area, Nagpur (Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Digdoh, Wadi). Further, Class B cities are Nashik, Aurangabad, Amravati, Bhiwandi, Solapur, Kolhapur, Vasai-Virar, Malegaon, Nanded, Sangli as also, all district headquarters.
Cities not in Classes A and B are under Class C.
The Chief Minister’s Office said in a release that the rates have been capped to fix the cost of treatment in private hospitals and provide relief to the general public during the current second wave and in the anticipated third wave.
Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the government had issued the notification after receiving numerous complaints on the inflated rates charged by hospitals. “In the previous notification, the treatment rates were the same for hospitals in big cities and hospitals in remote areas. The classification of cities will now bring great relief in the cost of treatment,” he noted.
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