There will be no respite for private hospitals, as BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to extend the price cap for COVID-19 treatment for the next three months. This comes after the civic body had a meeting with the representatives of the private hospitals regarding the same on August 27. However, the final decision on whether the 80:20 ratio will continue at private hospitals is expected on Monday night.
The state, on May 21, had issued a circular, assuming control of 80 per cent beds in the private sector and leaving control of 20 per cent beds to the hospital management. It had also fixed the treatment cost of over 270 non-COVID-19 procedures that patients admitted under the 80 per cent category could be charged. The hospitals were free to charge their own rates for the remaining 20 per cent beds. The scheme lapses on August 31.
BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said that the 80:20 ratio for COVID-19 treatment will continue for the next three months. However, some relief will be granted to non-COVID-19 patients. “We have asked private hospitals to keep the ratio of 80:20 cap on the charges for COVID-19 patients for the next three months. For non-COVID patients, they can start charging regular rates for 50 per cent of the beds, while the remaining 50 per cent will have government rates," he said.
Dr Gautam Bhansali, chief coordinator for private hospitals and consultant physician with Bombay Hospital, said that the meeting was attended by representatives from Hinduja, Jaslok, Hiranandani, Kokilaben and Breach Candy hospitals, amongst others.
"Due to the cap on charges, all private hospitals are currently suffering losses. Certain nursing homes that were asked to stop treating COVID-19 patients also have their objections, since they have all invested in preparing their facilities for the pandemic. We had a meeting with the municipal commissioner and are waiting for formal orders from the government," he said.