Kochi

Patient’s kin allege prohibitive cost for COVID-19 treatment

The family of a patient admitted for a day at a private hospital in Ernakulam has alleged that the hospital quoted “high” prices for treatment after the patient tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

“We were asked for a deposit of ₹50,000 and told that the treatment cost could be about ₹11,000 for a single day and ₹22,000 if the patient was on ventilator. It could cost up to ₹2 lakh for COVID-19 treatment for 10 days,” said Sajith Kumar P.G., whose aunt was taken to a private hospital on Thursday evening after she complained of weakness. The 71-year-old then tested positive at the hospital. Sajith said they then insisted that she be shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kalamassery.

After several calls to the hospital and the Health authorities, the patient was shifted to the MCH on Friday evening, he added.

The bill for the day amounted to ₹19,784. After having raised an issue, the family was given a concession of ₹4,406, leaving them with a final bill of ₹15,377. The initial bill of over ₹19,000 includes a CT-scan worth ₹2,500, isolation and PPE charges worth ₹3,500, and COVID care charges worth ₹2,500, besides other consumables and laboratory charges for tests done.

When she was admitted, doctors suspected a stroke and took a CT-scan, Sajith said. “We were told that they suspected a meningioma in the frontal lobe,” he said, adding that the rates for COVID-19 treatment at the hospital were not displayed anywhere, and the family was surprised, since they had been under the impression that the charges for COVID-19 treatment had been capped at private hospitals.

The public relations officer at the hospital said the issue with the charges had been a misunderstanding. “The patient was admitted with other health problems, not COVID-19. Considering the cost for other treatments as well, somebody on duty then may have quoted the figure, but not authoritatively,” he explained. The hospital was mostly treating COVID-19 patients who test positive for the virus while being treated for other problems, he said.

The official refused to specify what the cost of COVID-19 treatment at the hospital was. The hospital is not empanelled under the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi, he said.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 11:34:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/patients-kin-allege-prohibitive-cost-for-covid-19-treatment/article32986775.ece

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