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Health India

Two state-run hospitals start charging non-Covid patients Rs. 1,500 for Covid tests in Lucknow

Opposition slams BJP state government, demands clarification in the matter

Sabrangindia 26 Jun 2020

Covid testsImage Courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Testing prices became a focal point in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting from Rs. 4,500 for testing at private labs at the beginning of the lockdown, the prices for Covid-19 tests came down significantly after the fourth phase after testing kits became available in large numbers. While testing at private labs has come down to under Rs. 3,000, the tests remain to be free of cost at private hospitals.

However, The Indian Express found that the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (SGPGI) of Medical Sciences and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Institute in Lucknow, both state-run institutions, have started charging Rs. 1,500 from patients coming for non-Covid treatment for their mandatory Covid test.

The explanations by SGPGI and RML is not one to soothe the common man’s dismay with the exorbitant prices charged for tests. It was reported that patients going for an elective operation at SGPGI will have to pay for PPE kits, N-95 masks, gloves and other essentials used for the protection from the infection. Both hospitals confirmed to IE that only, patients coming to the emergency or fever clinic or those suspected of having the infection will be exempted of the charges.

SGPGI Director, Dr. SK Dhiman told IE, “A suspected case of coronavirus does not have to pay any money [for Covid test] as the Centre has made such an arrangement. If there is a patient who possibly does not have the infection but has to be admitted for a surgery, pregnancy, or some heart-related issues, we will charge them and their attendants for the test. This is because Covid test is mandatory. In simple terms, we have a separate Rajdhani Covid Hospital and all tests are free of cost there. In the main wing we will charge Rs 1,500 for the test.”

Dr. Shrikesh Singh from RML also confirmed the same protocol to IE.

Government run hospitals soon to charge for Covid-19 tests?

Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told IE that the charges were decided by the hospital itself and that there are no charges for the RT-PCR tests. He told IE, “Being a government hospital does not mean there will be no charge. If there is SGPGI, there is a charge for the treatment. However, nothing is charged for the RT-PCR tests as the government is paying for that. The health department is not yet charging for that, but after two months we will also start doing so,” said Prasad. On SGPGI charging for PPE kits and N-95 masks, he said that he couldn’t comment on that as the matter was “concerned with the medical education department.”

Oppositions slams UP government

In light of the news, Congress spokesperson Amarnath Agarwal questioned the government’s silence calling the move “shameful”. He said, “This exposes the dual face of the BJP. On the one hand they claim that the poor are getting benefits under Ayushman Bharat Yojana and on the other hand, a government hospital is charging money for Covid testing and PPE kits,” reported United News of India (UNI).

Adding that people were already reeling under an economic crisis, he asked for the decision to be revoked lest others start following in UP’s footsteps soon.

Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Sajan too alleged that the move was a ‘loot’ at every level. UNI reported him as saying, “It is an open loot, everyone is looting the poor in whatever way they can. People are already facing bad times and now if a government hospital is charging money for Covid-19 testing, where are the funds going? The government must come clean on the issue and issue a clarification on why a government hospital like SGPGI has to charge for tests and PPE kits from the patients. What is the difference between private and government hospitals?”

Private hospitals continue to bulk up charges

While this is a new revelation about charges by government hospitals, private hospitals have earned the citizens’ ire for bulking up bills as state governments capped testing and treatment rates.

In Mumbai, the state government had capped the treatment charges for 80 percent of hospital rates, leaving 20 percent in the hands of the concerned institution. However, it was found that to earn the lost revenue, private hospitals started issuing charges for care and hygiene, staff management and also for N-95 masks, gloves and face shields! The same practice continues to be exercised in private hospitals across the country.

 

 

In another report, Deccan Chronicle reported that private hospitals are now demanding caution deposits from Covid-19 patients before admission. Those who cannot pay up are denied beds. The publication reported that deposits are said to range from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Some hospitals charge Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 as deposit. They state that these amounts are collected in advance for additional expenses for personal protection equipment, isolation wards and disinfection.

The discoveries of such strong-arm measures to force the poor into paying up for basic healthcare, especially at such a time, makes hospitals nothing short of mafias. With government hospitals being one respite for the poor, even that seems to be slipping away from the common man’s reach.

Related:

Will Maharashtra Covid-19 testing prices in private labs go down soon?
ICMR removes Covid-19 price cap, asks states to negotiate with private labs to lower price

Two state-run hospitals start charging non-Covid patients Rs. 1,500 for Covid tests in Lucknow

Opposition slams BJP state government, demands clarification in the matter

Covid testsImage Courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Testing prices became a focal point in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting from Rs. 4,500 for testing at private labs at the beginning of the lockdown, the prices for Covid-19 tests came down significantly after the fourth phase after testing kits became available in large numbers. While testing at private labs has come down to under Rs. 3,000, the tests remain to be free of cost at private hospitals.

However, The Indian Express found that the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (SGPGI) of Medical Sciences and Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Institute in Lucknow, both state-run institutions, have started charging Rs. 1,500 from patients coming for non-Covid treatment for their mandatory Covid test.

The explanations by SGPGI and RML is not one to soothe the common man’s dismay with the exorbitant prices charged for tests. It was reported that patients going for an elective operation at SGPGI will have to pay for PPE kits, N-95 masks, gloves and other essentials used for the protection from the infection. Both hospitals confirmed to IE that only, patients coming to the emergency or fever clinic or those suspected of having the infection will be exempted of the charges.

SGPGI Director, Dr. SK Dhiman told IE, “A suspected case of coronavirus does not have to pay any money [for Covid test] as the Centre has made such an arrangement. If there is a patient who possibly does not have the infection but has to be admitted for a surgery, pregnancy, or some heart-related issues, we will charge them and their attendants for the test. This is because Covid test is mandatory. In simple terms, we have a separate Rajdhani Covid Hospital and all tests are free of cost there. In the main wing we will charge Rs 1,500 for the test.”

Dr. Shrikesh Singh from RML also confirmed the same protocol to IE.

Government run hospitals soon to charge for Covid-19 tests?

Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told IE that the charges were decided by the hospital itself and that there are no charges for the RT-PCR tests. He told IE, “Being a government hospital does not mean there will be no charge. If there is SGPGI, there is a charge for the treatment. However, nothing is charged for the RT-PCR tests as the government is paying for that. The health department is not yet charging for that, but after two months we will also start doing so,” said Prasad. On SGPGI charging for PPE kits and N-95 masks, he said that he couldn’t comment on that as the matter was “concerned with the medical education department.”

Oppositions slams UP government

In light of the news, Congress spokesperson Amarnath Agarwal questioned the government’s silence calling the move “shameful”. He said, “This exposes the dual face of the BJP. On the one hand they claim that the poor are getting benefits under Ayushman Bharat Yojana and on the other hand, a government hospital is charging money for Covid testing and PPE kits,” reported United News of India (UNI).

Adding that people were already reeling under an economic crisis, he asked for the decision to be revoked lest others start following in UP’s footsteps soon.

Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Sajan too alleged that the move was a ‘loot’ at every level. UNI reported him as saying, “It is an open loot, everyone is looting the poor in whatever way they can. People are already facing bad times and now if a government hospital is charging money for Covid-19 testing, where are the funds going? The government must come clean on the issue and issue a clarification on why a government hospital like SGPGI has to charge for tests and PPE kits from the patients. What is the difference between private and government hospitals?”

Private hospitals continue to bulk up charges

While this is a new revelation about charges by government hospitals, private hospitals have earned the citizens’ ire for bulking up bills as state governments capped testing and treatment rates.

In Mumbai, the state government had capped the treatment charges for 80 percent of hospital rates, leaving 20 percent in the hands of the concerned institution. However, it was found that to earn the lost revenue, private hospitals started issuing charges for care and hygiene, staff management and also for N-95 masks, gloves and face shields! The same practice continues to be exercised in private hospitals across the country.

 

 

In another report, Deccan Chronicle reported that private hospitals are now demanding caution deposits from Covid-19 patients before admission. Those who cannot pay up are denied beds. The publication reported that deposits are said to range from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Some hospitals charge Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 as deposit. They state that these amounts are collected in advance for additional expenses for personal protection equipment, isolation wards and disinfection.

The discoveries of such strong-arm measures to force the poor into paying up for basic healthcare, especially at such a time, makes hospitals nothing short of mafias. With government hospitals being one respite for the poor, even that seems to be slipping away from the common man’s reach.

Related:

Will Maharashtra Covid-19 testing prices in private labs go down soon?
ICMR removes Covid-19 price cap, asks states to negotiate with private labs to lower price

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