Picture used for representational purpose only
MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s public health department on Monday issued an order extending the 80:20 scheme, by which state and local corporations will continue to control 80% beds and treatment charges in private hospitals till November-end. Mumbai’s private hospitals have been granted some relaxation whereby government control over non-Covid beds has been reduced from 80% to 50%. The authorities would continue to regulate admissions to 80% of Covid beds in these hospitals.
The new order has also fixed PPE prices and included oxygen charges in bed rates.
The order, signed by public health secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, states the scheme will be unchanged for the rest of the state where Covid cases continue to soar. Under the scheme, state or corporations take control of 80% beds while hospitals retain rights to admit and charge their rates for the remaining 20%. Within the 80%, hospitals are supposed to set aside beds for both Covid and non-Covid care.
Maharashtra was the first state to cap Covid and non-Covid treatment costs on May 21, following multiple complaints of profiteering by hospitals. The state had taken control over 80% of the beds for Covid, treatment prices for which were capped too. The May 21 order expired on Monday and the new one will come into effect on Tuesday.
The circular states BMC will continue to control admissions to 80% of Covid and 50% of non-Covid beds in the city’s private hospitals. For PPEs, a daily maximum cost of Rs 600 has been fixed for patients admitted in wards and Rs 1,200 for patients in ICUs. “Any charge more than this towards PPE will have to be justified,” the circular stated. It has retained room charges for Covid care to Rs 4,000 for regular isolation ward, Rs 7,500 for ICU without ventilator and Rs 9,000 for ICU with ventilator. The only change has been inclusion of oxygen charges in the bracket.
Dr Sudhakar Shinde, CEO of State Health Assurance Society who was instrumental in drafting the scheme, said there were complaints of overcharging of PPEs and oxygen support systems, which the new order has addressed. “We haven’t capped PPE rates but if a hospital is using more consumables for a patient, it has to be explained.”
Last week, a delegation of private hospitals had met with state officials and demanded quashing of the 80:20 scheme as cases were under control in Mumbai. Some had also said the scheme should be made 50:50.
Dr Gautam Bhansali of Bombay Hospital, who has been coordinating between private hospitals and the state, said they welcomed the government decision to provide relaxations for Mumbai. “Now that public hospitals are relatively free, private hospitals can return to their routine work,” he said.
Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president, Indian Medical Association, though, said patients can consume over 60,000 litres of oxygen in a day, the cost of which goes up to Rs 9,000. “It will be grossly unfair to include oxygen charges in room rates.”