Rs 3 lakh for Covid treatment: Delhi hospital sets bottom line for admission

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Saroj Super Specialty Hospital and Saroj Medical Medical Institute, Rohini, Delhi

NEW DELHI: A Delhi hospital, designated by the government to treat Covid-19 patients, has issued a circular fixing a minimum bill value of Rs 3 lakh and a minimum advance of Rs 4 lakh to be charged from the patients.
An internal circular issued by Saroj Super Specialty Hospital and Saroj Medical Medical Institute, Rohini, on June 4, says "Rs 3 lakh will be the minimum bill irrespective of the number of days of stay or category of each patient."
The circular, which is meant for "all concerned in the hospital and all panels", has quoted different packages for different categories of services to be rendered by the hospital.
The circular has been issued "as per the order by the management and for immediate implementation".

The cirdular issued by Saroj Super Specialty Hospital and Saroj Medical Medical Institute, Rohini quoting charges for admission and treatment of Covid patients.

Under the first category, the circular quotes Rs 40,000 package per day for two and three-bedded admissions.
Under the second category, the charges rise to Rs 50,000 per day for single room and private category services.
In the third, the charges further climb up to Rs 75,000 per day for ICU services.
And, finally, under the fourth category, the charges are Rs 1 lakh per day for ICU with ventilator services.
"Patient charges would be on a daily basis. However, the bill amount would be Rs 3 lakh and/ or per day charges whichever is more," the circular states.
It goes on to say that "any panel patients will be charged as above which are as per government of Delhi ruling vide their letter... dated May 24, 2020".
The hospital puts further conditions and says that a "patient will be admitted only after an advance (payment) of Rs 4 lakh for admission in two- and three-bedded categories, Rs 5 lakh for single room and Rs 8 lakh for admission in ICU".
The packages include stay, food, investigations, medicines, miscellaneous and NRI charges.
However, packages do not include other speciality and treatment charges which will be twice of the hospital rate list, the circular finally says.
BJP’s national secretary RP Singh tagged Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet and asked whether the charges of the packages of the hospital were true.

Letter of a Saroj Hospital refer to:Govt Of Delhi ruling Vide their letter No. 23/413 Gen/Circular/HC/OGHS/HO/S366… https://t.co/b3e9308aYC

— RP Singh: National Secretary BJP (@rpsinghkhalsa) 1591554501000

A senior administrative officer of the hospital claimed that the rates had been sent to the Delhi government for approval. However, he also admitted that “this circular is being widely circulated in the social media".
When approached, a senior doctor of the hospital refused to comment on the details of the circular.
A clarification issued by Saroj Super Speciality Hospital on its Facebook page on Monday said, "It has been brought to our notice that an out of date circular which was for panel patients is being circulated on social media about charges of treatment for Covid-19 patients. We confirm that Covid patients' admission started only from June 8 and they are being charged as per the revised treatment cost declared by the government of Delhi on June 6. We at 'Saroj' encourage treatment at home and have offered a package less than Rs 1900 per day including Covid kit. We urge you to not believe in hearsay."
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had on June 6 warned private hospitals of strict action if they refused Covid-19 patients or were involved in "black-marketeering" of beds.
In an online press briefing, Kejriwal had said, "False refusal cannot be tolerated and admitting coronavirus patients is non-negotiable ... There are some private hospitals which are resorting to such means. First they say they don't have bed and when patients insist, they demand a huge amount. Isn't this black-marketeering of beds? ... I am warning those who think they will be able to do black-marketing of beds using the influence of their protectors from other parties, you will not be spared.”
Talking to timesofindia.com, cardiologist and former president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr KK Aggarwal said Epidemic Diseases Act is in force throughout the country and so is the National Disaster Management Act.
The Delhi government has used the powers vested in it and designated this hospital as 100 per cent Covid-19 hospital. If it has done so, it should also have fixed the fees to be charged by the hospital, he added.
Dr Aggarwal said the Delhi government would be at fault if the fees quoted by the hospital circular was in its knowledge.
“The hospitals cannot be blamed completely because it would have had to stop its other facilities such as bypass heart surgeries and the likes. In the process, it would suffer huge losses,” he said.
Therefore, he said, the Delhi government should ideally compensate the hospital for the losses suffered by it. “And, in turn, the hospital should charge only nominal fees from the patients. The government has clearly not applied its mind while taking this crucial decision,” he said.
According to the findings of a five-member committee, appointed by the Kejriwal government to look into the number of cases and requirement of hospital beds, there are about 25,000 Covid-19 cases in Delhi at present while the doubling rate is 14 to 15 days.
The committee, headed by Dr Mahesh Verma, has estimated that by the middle of June, Delhi would witness about 50,000 cases and by the end of this month, there would be a whopping 1 lakh Covid-19 active cases in the national capital. The panel assumed that 20 to 25 per cent of the 1 lakh patients would need hospitalisation. By this estimate, Delhi should be prepared to reserve about 15,000 beds by end-June and 42,000 by mid-July.

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