The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has brought 80 per cent of beds in all private hospitals across its jurisdiction under its purview. The municipal corporation says that the government has regulated the usage of private hospital bed capacity and has also capped the prices of treatments that can be billed to patients. However, hospitals are allowed to charge their rates in the remaining 20 per cent beds.
Further, Municipal Corporation said the state government also capped the price of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals. The fee regulation decision applies to both isolation and non-isolation beds in private hospitals.
Chandrakant Dange, Commissioner, MBMC said, “Private Hospitals are abided by the advisory. 80 per cent of beds in isolation and non-isolation wards available with any healthcare provider will be regulated by the state government charges issued on May 21. This came as people complained of exorbitant rates being charged by hospitals for the treatment. The hospitals can charge their rates in the rest 20 per cent beds.”
Commissioner also said that the civic officials will keep an eye in private hospitals to monitor the situation. “This will ensure patients won’t have to face difficulties,” said the Commissioner.
“Whichever, private hospitals, nursing homes or clinic are treating COVID-19 patients, they cannot charge the rate more than a mention in Annexure C issued by the Maharashtra Government. In the same way, for non-COVID-19 patients Annexure A and B (if applies) rates will be applicable,” added Mr Dange.
MJPJAY Free Treatment
The state cabinet also has approved its free health insurance scheme being extended to all citizens of the state. Under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY), people in the state can avail free treatment up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs.
“Under this scheme, one can get free treatment up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. To get benefitted, they have to bring a valid ration card and one government-issued photo identity card. Those hospitals are not under MJPJAY, they can approach and registered themselves in this scheme,” said Mr Dange.
“If any private hospitals are not following these guidelines or have any grievances then patients can call the COVID-19 helpline number 022-28117102 and complaint about it. There will be no difference in the quality of treatment in 80 per cent and 20 per cent categories,” said Civic Chief Dange.
Among other things, the State Government has capped the routine ward and isolation bed rates at Rs 4,000. It has fixed the ICU beds rates without ventilators, at Rs 7,500 per day. Whereas, it has capped the rates of an ICU bed with ventilator support at Rs 9,000.
The State Government has also capped package rates of nearly 270 procedures and surgeries, including cancer treatments.
Similarly, the State Government has capped the charges for non-Covid patients in private hospitals. For instance, the charges for an angiography procedure at Rs 12,000. While the hospitals can charge a maximum of Rs 1.2 lakh for an angioplasty. According to the notification, normal delivery at a private hospital cannot be charged more than Rs 75,000. However, delivery through a basic caesarean section has been capped at Rs 86,250.
The package rates fixed by the government will be an all-inclusive rate including doctors’ fees, OT charges, room rent, investigations, implants, drugs among other charges. PPE costs are not included in the package rate. High-end drugs being tried in COVID-19 treatment, like Meropenem, immunoglobulin, Tocilizumab, etc have to be charged at MRP.
Hospitals also cannot charge more than 10 per cent mark-up on the net procurement cost of items. Services such as medical implants, lenses, pacemakers, prosthesis, PPE kits etc, which do not fall part of GIPSA-PPN or insurance package rates also not charge more than 10 per cent.
High-end tests such as CT, MRI scans, Radiation, Stress test, Liver profile, among others will be charged as on actuals based on tariff as on December 31, 2019. Blood and blood products charges are also not capped.
What Hospital say
Most private hospitals, though unhappy, say they will have to follow the orders despite incurring losses under the prescribed rates.
The Director of a leading hospital said the rates offered for ICU beds are very low. “Our revenues have anyway dwindled owing to elective surgeries is not allowed. Costs have also gone up to account for more safety gears and management of COVID centres,” the Director said.
“The need is to incentivise COVID hospitals rather than disincentivising them at this time,” he added.
What expert say
When Mibhatimes.com asked renowned RTI activist Anil Galgali about it, he said, “I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to make it mandatory for a private hospital to display the amount of the patients’ bill details at the reception or outside the hospital.”
Anil Galgali further said, “This will ensure that the private hospital management does not give any false information and the general public will know the truth. Municipal Corporation should also display the vacant beds’ details on its website, so people can directly approach the hospitals instead of running pillar to poles at crucial golden times.”
Galgali further said that today the minister, officials suddenly go to the private hospital and give show-cause notice but no on-the-spot action has been taken. This increases the notoriousness of hospital management.