In April this year, under the Disaster Management Act and Epidemics Act, the state government had capped the rates that the state’s private and charitable hospitals can charge for treatment and procedures related to Covid-19, in an attempt to protect patients who do not have insurance and can’t get hospitalised in government healthcare facilities. This order was to expire on August 31.
However, since the state still has 178,234 active cases, the government is set to extend the price cap, officials aware of the development told ET. “Looking at the spread of the disease in the state, the general public needs the relief,” said Sudhakar Shinde, CEO of Mahatma Phule Jeevan Bhima Yojna (MPJAY), the state organisation that is dealing with price caps.
“A large number of persons, including those affected by Covid-19, are in need of treatment at various hospitals, nursing homes, dispensaries registered under Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act… but the government has received a large number of grievances of exorbitant amount of money being charged by healthcare providers registered under this Act, causing hardship to the public in general during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the notification issued on April 30 , 2020, by Maharashtra health secretary Pradeep Vyas said.
The extension of cap on treatment charges comes despite pleas from several private hospitals in the state, and specifically in Mumbai, which has seen a drop in the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Hospital officials who want to start their non-Covid-19 work, said they cannot afford to run their operations with the current caps. State Officials told ET that there can be some relaxation for private hospitals in Mumbai on pricing of non-Covid beds. In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 recovery rate is 73%, with 23%, or 160,422 cases, being asymptomatic or displaying mild symptoms, and 4,194, or 1%, of the patients being in critical condition, according to statistics shared by the state government.