How will BMC bell the cat?
How will BMC bell the cat?

Mumbai: After receiving numerous complaints of private hospitals charging exorbitant rates for the treatment of Covid-19 patients , the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has, curiously enough, sought suggestions from private hospitals on the subject.

Last Saturday, it held a meeting with the president of the private hospitals' association and the CEOs of all private hospitals and said a decision would shortly be forthcoming.

The co-convener of the Jan Arogya Abhiyan, Dr Abhijit More, said, instead of acting against private hospitals for overcharging patients during the pandemic, the BMC is seeking suggestions from them.

Why is the BMC seeking suggestions from private hospitals for Covid-19 charges? he questioned. On March 18, the BMC had directed all private hospitals to charge Rs 4,000 or 50 per cent of the total bill per bed.

But hospitals claimed to be incurring an additional expense of Rs 9,500 a day per patient on ventilators, blood tests, medicines, and single-use PPE kits for medical staff.

In March, we had decided on an amount of Rs 4,000 for Covid treatment at a private hospital, of which Rs 3,000 would be for a bed and Rs 1,000 for medicines.

But it was learnt there were other exorbitant charges being added to the patient's bill, following which we held a meeting with the hospital's chief executive officers (CEOs) on May 2, said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Kakani said, at the meeting there was a discussion on a price cap for Covid treatment and the BMC had asked CEOs to come up with a suggestion on the amount to be charged. “We are waiting for the suggestion and once it is received, a decision will be taken.

Following which private hospitals have to abide by this or face action if they don't,” he added. Dr PM Bhujang, president of the Association of Hospitals, said they had sought the government’s clarification on some points. “We are studying it and are discussing it among ourselves,” he said.

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