Visakhapatnam

Patients can opt for treatment in private hospitals in Visakhapatnam

Care in govt. facilities is free but can be quite expensive outside

With the rise in COVID-19 cases, the focus is slowly shifting towards private hospitals. The district administration is negotiating with a number of private hospitals and, if required, will either take over the hospitals or a few wings to accommodate patients.

If the government takes over the hospitals, the treatment is going to be free, as it comes under the Arogyasri scheme. As of now only one or two private hospitals have been approved by the government for treatment in the district.

If someone wants to get treated in a private hospital, they can opt for it if they can bear the charges. Otherwise, anyone can opt for a government facility where treatment is free, whether they hold an Arogyasri card or not, says District COVID Officer and principal of the Andhra Medical College P.V. Sudhakar.

It is learnt that private hospitals are admitting patients in the pulmonology ward and collecting high charges under heads such as PPE kit, bed charges, emergency ward charges and ward pharmacy, resulting in a bill in the range of ₹2-2.5 lakh.

Justifying the hike, a doctor from a private hospital says that it has become difficult to get people, including sanitary staff, to work in COVID wards. A normal sanitary worker is demanding ₹1,500 per shift, which turns out to ₹45,000 per month.

Preparing for more cases

Over 500 cases have come up in the last 30 days in the district. The administration anticipates a spike in cases in July and accordingly set a target to keep ready at least 6,000 beds by July first week.

The district at present has about three main COVID hospitals – GITAM Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Gayatri Medical College and Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences.

According to Collector V. Vinay Chand, by July 1, 7,000 beds will be kept ready to meet any emergency, and 2,000 of them will be critical care beds that will have three-line oxygen supply. About 800 ventilators will also be in place.

This apart they are gearing up to keep at least 5,000 beds ready in the COVID Care Centres.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 12:49:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/patients-can-opt-for-treatment-in-private-hospitals/article31935476.ece

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