The increase in coronavirus cases in the past week in Karnataka has alarmed the government. On Tuesday, the State Government in an order issued by Chief Secretary of State Vijay Bhaskar, the rates for the treatment of coronavirus at private hospitals has been fixed.

Now, patients can avail General ward admission at a private hospital for COVID-19 at Rs 10,000 per day. 50 percent of the beds in private hospitals with facilities to treat COVID-19 patients will be reserved for patients referred by public authorities. The remaining 50 percent of COVID beds may be used for treating patients according to the fixed packages. 

Courtesy: Reuters

Karnataka govt fixes rates for pvt hospital treatment

Karnataka over the past few days has witnessed a drastic jump in positive COVID-19 cases. Alarmed, the State Government is acting quickly to contain the spread and fight the virus. In a meeting called by the CM BS Yediyurappa a lot was discussed about the way forward, with 5 wards in Bengaluru returning to lockdown. 

During the meeting, the CM also called for the swift fixing of rates for COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals, in light of the increase of cases. Recently the Government had roped in 500 private hospitals to treat COVID-19. 

Today in a new circular issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the rates for treatment of COVID-19 at private hospitals were fixed. The circular issued by Vijay Bhaskar, Chief Secretary of the state, caps were fixed on treatment in General wards and ICUs. 

BS Yediyurappa meeting on COVID-19 rise in cases on 22nd June 2020
@RAshokaBJP on Twitter

The circular stated that 50% of all COVID beds at private hospitals equipped to treat COVID-19 will be reserved for patients referred by public authorities, including HDU and ICU beds with and without a ventilator. The rest may be utilised for COVID-19 patients adhering to package rates. 

The package rates for patients referred by public health authorities per day are:

  1. General ward Rs.5200
  2. HDU Rs.7,000
  3. Isolation ICU without ventilator Rs.8,500
  4. Isolation ICU with ventilator Rs. 10,000

The package rates for patients making cash payments without insurance are:

  1. General Ward Rs.10,000
  2. HDU Rs. 12,000
  3. Isolation ICU without ventilator Rs.15,000
  4. Isolation ICU with ventilator Rs. 25,000

The rates fixed by the Government, however, will not be applicable for insured patients, this includes patients with agreements entered into between the hospital and corporate entities. Insurance companies will negotiate packages with the hospitals, and these can vary from hospital to hospital. 

The Government has issued several conditions on the packages as well. Such as, "while calculating 50% of the beds to be utilized by government patients, the number will be counted irrespective of the fact that the beds are located in public wards, sharing wards or private wards."

For patients "in respect of unforeseen complications/surgeries other comorbid conditions/pregnancy etc, of the Covid-19 patients, additional packages under AB-Ark packages will apply." And for those disadvantaged, "All Covid-19 patients including those with BPL and APL categories, migrant labourers and interstate returnees who do not possess PDS card shall be considered as eligible in view of the unprecedented pandemic situation." 

The Government added, "There should be no compromise on the quality of medical services rendered to the patients referred by the Public Health Authorities and those admitted privately." If hospitals are found defaulting on these conditions and regulations they will be held as punishable under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Disaster Management Act, 2005. Now, it's only to be seen whether the scheme is a success and what will be the pitfalls in implementation in Karnataka