Punjab health minister warns of action against Private hospitals for overcharging COVID-19 patients
Chandigarh - Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Wednesday asked civil surgeons to ensure that COVID-19 patients are charged by private hospitals as per the rates fixed by the state government.
He issued instructions while taking notice of reports that coronavirus patients were being overcharged by some private hospitals.
"If anyone is found violating the instructions, immediate action would be taken against the management under the Epidemic Disease Act," Sidhu said in an official statement here.
He said that services of test and treatment were being provided free of cost at all government health facilities so that all the needy people get the services without any financial burden.
Similarly, to check profiteering by private hospitals, the government had already fixed COVID-19 treatment rates in July.
It has been brought to his notice that even now, some private hospitals have been charging exorbitant amount from families of patients, he said.
The minister appealed to the management of private hospitals to serve humanity during this tough time and stop overcharging for the treatment as families of patients were already passing through trauma, financial problems and discrimination associated with the disease.
For moderate sickness requiring isolation beds, including supportive care and oxygen, the state government has fixed a per day rate of Rs 10,000 for all private medical colleges or NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers) private hospitals with teaching programmes.
The government has fixed Rs 9,000 for NABH accredited hospitals, including private medical colleges without PG/DNB course, and Rs 8,000 for non-NABH accredited hospitals.
The per day rates across these categories of hospitals for severe sickness (ICU without the need for a ventilator) have been capped at Rs 15,000, Rs 14,000 and Rs 13,000, respectively.
For very severe or critical patients, the charges in these categories of hospitals are fixed at Rs 18,000, Rs 16,500 and Rs 15,000 per day, respectively.
Incase of mild sickness cases, the government has fixed the per day rates for such cases at Rs 6,500, Rs 5,500 and Rs 4,500, respectively.
Sidhu said the government has also capped the cost of testing at Rs 2,400 for RT-PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) inclusive of taxes.
It also includes any cost involved in home collection of samples. For antigen testing at private labs, the cost has been capped at maximum Rs 1,000, including taxes and any cost involved in home collection of samples.
The minister said for getting tested, no prescription from a doctor is required in government hospitals and those testing positive and are asymptomatic or mild symptomatic need not be admitted to hospitals and can opt for home isolation, if they have facilities.