Capitalising on the COVID crisis

Indian Medical Association district president Vasantha Rao has advised private doctors and hospitals not to increase their charges on the pretext of COVID-19.

Indian Medical Association district president Vasantha Rao has advised private doctors and hospitals not to increase their charges on the pretext of COVID-19.   | Photo Credit: Representional photo

Private hospitals use safety gear excuse to hike consultation fee, cost of tests

The town is limping back to normalcy with no COVID-19 cases reported in the past one month and private hospitals have started opening in a phased manner. However, to the shock of city residents, some private hospitals, nursing homes and doctors have effected a sharp hike in consultation fee as well as costs of tests and other medical services.

Fee up by ₹200

Consultation fees, which was less than ₹300 before the lockdown, has now shot up to ₹500. Some other doctors who earlier charged ₹500 are now asking for ₹700 per patient.

Similarly, charges for various tests such as CT scan, MRI scan, and surgeries have also almost doubled owing to the expenditure involved in the safety gear to be worn while checking a patient. Nursing homes have increased Caesarian delivery charges from ₹30,000 to ₹60,000.

Following the announcement of lockdown and spread of the virus in the town, all private hospitals and nursing homes had been shut following instructions of the State government. No patient suffering from any ailment had approached private hospitals during the lockdown, except in case of an emergency.

Private hospitals claimed that they were forced to increase cost of medical services due to additional expenditure involved in treating the patients by wearing Personal Protective Equipment, facial shield, masks and gloves, use of sanitisers and disinfectants, screening of patients with infrared thermometer etc.

‘Not following norms’

However, Lok Satta Udyama Samstha district president N. Srinivas said, “It is not correct to increase the charges, that too during a crisis.” He also alleged that the private hospitals were not following the government guidelines and treating hordes of patients as against the norms of treating only four to five patients per hour.

Indian Medical Association district president Vasantha Rao said that they have instructed all the private doctors and hospitals “not to fleece patients” by increasing their charges on the pretext of COVID-19 virus. Sources in the District Medical and Health Office said they have no control over the regulation of consultation fee and other charges collected by the private hospitals and doctors.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:11:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/capitalising-on-the-covid-crisis/article31609835.ece

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