Gujarat Covid-19 cases cross 9,000; principal secretary says situation under control

Private hospitals refuse to sign up with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation over cap on treatment fees


The state of Gujarat seems to be in dire straits as it grapples with the coronavirus infection rapidly spreading through the citizens there. On Wednesday, Gujarat added 364 Covid-19 positive cases and 29 deaths from the viral infection, reported The Times of India. The cases there have cumulatively gone up to 9,268 and the death toll rests at 566.

Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health & family welfare), said that 316 Covid-19 positive patients have been discharged in last 24 hours, taking the total to 3,562. “The state’s recovery rate has improved to 38.4% with those discharged on Wednesday,” she said, claiming that the situation is ‘under control.’

Speaking of the treatment protocol, Ravi also said that the government had approved the use of Tocilizumab injections and have placed an order for the same. Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressant used for arthritis that has also proved to be effective to curb Covid-19 if used in early stages.

“As part of WHO’s solidarity trial, we have got stock of Remdesivir, a patented drug, for clinical trial in Gujarat, which is likely to start from tomorrow. Likewise, Interferon, another drug for treatment, has also been received for trial,” said Ravi.

Ahmedabad’s private hospital refused to turn into Covid-19 centers

Upset over the cap on treatment fees and absence of “many large hospitals in the list”, majority of the 30 private hospitals enlisted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) of Covid-19 patients have refused to sign up with it.

None of the members of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes association (AHNA) has signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the corporation, said Dr. Bharat Gadhavi, the president of the association, The Indian Express reported.

In its fourth representation to Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar on Wednesday, AHNA has requested the authorities to be ‘fair and transparent’ in selecting hospitals as “many large hospitals have been left out’ in the list of these Covid-designated hospitals. It has also appealed to Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel who also holds the portfolio of health.

Many hospital authorities have cried foul that while the state government allowed seven corporate hospitals to charge hefty fee for the treatment of Covid-19, they have been imposed to work on a paltry fee which is not enough to cover even treatment cost.

One of the major demand raised by the hospitals under the aegis of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) is the government to treat all private hospitals uniformly, reported The Times of India.

“Some hospitals are allowed to treat patients at their standard rates with patients voluntarily choosing those hospitals due to quality of care provided. It would be a welcome step if other hospitals are also allowed to treat the patients at the current rates of hospital,” states the AHNA letter to municipal commissioner on Tuesday. “People who can pay, should be paying for these services. We can definitely create a mechanism wherein the needy patients get treatment at subsidized rates.”

It was reported that while the treatment charge for Covid-19 designated hospitals was capped at Rs. 1,800 to Rs. 4,500 per day, other private hospitals were charging Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 8 lakh for the entire duration towards deposit and treatment cost.

A director of a private hospital requisitioned under the Epidemic Diseases Act said, “The Rs. 1800-4,500 cost fixed by AMC is grossly insufficient. Expense audit will reveal that government hospitals too cannot treat Covid at this rate.”

Talking about other problems Dr. Gadhavi said, “For a basic Covid-19 facility, one requires a full-time physician which some of the hospitals lack. Likewise, several of the hospitals don’t provide food to the patients in normal course,” adding that the hospitals chosen to be designated Covid-19 hospitals were serving existing patients and nfrastructure at these hospitals such as dialysis machines, cathlab or trauma wards is not fit for Covid-19 patients. He advised that hospitals with ICUs and other facilities should be chosen as designated Covid-19 hospitals instead of specialty hospitals.

“These hospitals have facilities for other procedures such as surgeries. Once it becomes a Covid-19 facility, these facilities would become dysfunctional, causing loss for the management,” said Dr Gadhvi explaining that no hospitals would charge extra from patients during this time and the hike in charges was asked only to ensure better treatment for patients.

The association also mentioned the absence of “expertise required for treating Covid patients” in smaller, super-specialty hospitals and said there are chances mortality will increase if they start treating Covid-19 patients.

“Most of the hospitals are super-specialty hospitals with an expertise in a particular area. So first try to accommodate patients in big hospitals as smaller hospitals will not able to treat COVID patients. We are not denying support to the government but there should be transparency and rationality,” said Gadhavi.  

However, as per latest developments, it has been reported that the AMC has assured the 21 private hospitals that have been acquired for Covid-19 treatment, that they will move a proposal to double the rates currently offered. A senior AMC official said that they have moved a proposal to increase the existing rate by 100% for both empty and occupied beds.

Moreover, the civic authority will also pay Rs 15 lakh to the hospital for operative expenses. The state government has already announced that the employees of these hospitals will be treated at par with government employees if they contact Covid-19 infection or die on duty.


Paramilitary forces deployed in Ahmedabad to ensure people adhere to strict lockdown



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