Even as private hospitals have been enrolled to treat Covid-19 patients, the big question is how much will that treatment cost.
With the kind of infrastructure required to prepare and isolate infected patients, treatment in private hospitals is going to be a very costly affair for the common man.
With private hospitals coming in, it significantly increases the number of beds, especially ICU beds needed to treat Covid-19 patients.
Many hospitals in the private sector have undergone infrastructural changes to set up separate isolation wards, apart from other necessary overhauling.
“We have to rise up to the challenge of this global pandemic. We have created separate isolation wards for Covid-19 positive patients apart from isolation wards for Covid-19 suspects, and as per guidelines, even patients with high risk are put in separate wards. We had to train the medical staff about the personal protective equipment [PPE] apart from making policy changes,” Gautam Khanna, CEO Hinduja Hospital in Maharashtra’s Mumbai, said.
The government has issued strictures for private hospitals to follow, as far as treatment of pandemic is concerned, but there are no specific regulations for the cost of treatment.
Treatment at a super specialty hospital can be heavy on one’s pocket as it will include the costly protective gear required for the medical staff.
Treatment in a general ward can cost your almost Rs 11,000 a day and in an ICU, it will cost approximately Rs 50,000.
Covid-19 treatment might take 15 days. This adds up to almost an exorbitant Rs 7,50,000 per person in a super specialty hospital.
A super specialty hospital charges approximately Rs 4,000 for a bed, add Covid-19 expenses and it will be 11,000 per day in a general ward.
– For 10 days it will cost approx Rs 1,10,000 and Rs 1,52,000 for 14 days per patient
– In ICU, cost is around Rs 20,000 for a bed
– Add expenses of PPE for medical staff and other expenses and it will cost almost 50,000 per day
– For 15 days, cost could reach Rs 7,50,000
– With ventilator the cost could go up even further
That means, a super specialty hospital seems to out of bounds for the common man.
“An ICU will require special care, constant attention of doctors and nurses. It will include the protective gear that needs to be changed constantly,” Gautam Khanna said.
However, in towns, it’s the smaller hospitals and nursing homes that will play a critical role.
Already, almost 7,000 private hospitals in the country have a tie-up with Ayushmaan Bharat.
“Private hospital will act as booster as far as number of beds is concerned. Take an example of Delhi, it has almost 57,000 hospital beds of which almost 50 per cent is in private sector hospitals. That adds upto almost 7,000 ICU beds that are enough to cater to an emergency in the national capital. The core concern remains about the rest of India – the smaller towns and rural areas of the country,” Dr Girdhar Gyani, DG Association of Healthcare Providers India, said.
A general private hospital could be much cheaper than a super specialty and it costs 50,000 for 10 days for a general ward and about a lakh for an ICU with ventilator.