Amid reports of shortage of healthcare infrastructure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre on Monday asked states and Union Territories to engage with the private sector for augmenting such infrastructure and provisioning critical care at reasonable rates.
There have been several reports indicating an emerging shortage of healthcare infrastructure, including hospitals with ICU beds, ventilators and oxygen-supported beds, for management of COVID-19 patients, the Health Ministry said.
There have also been reports of overcharging by healthcare providers for COVID-19 treatment, it said in a statement.
Being seized of the emerging scenario, the ministry has asked the states and UTs to engage with the private healthcare providers to facilitate enhanced bed availability and critical care health facilities as well as to ensure fair and transparent charges for services provided.
In this regard, some states have already taken an initiative and have reached an agreement with the private sector on reasonable rates and arrangements to provide critical care for in-patient admissions.
PMJAY package and CGHS package rates are already available with the states and the rates of CGHS are fixed area wise, the statement said.
In order to ensure that patients receive prompt, good quality and care at reasonable rates, it has been suggested to states to have consultations with the local private healthcare providers and arrive at reasonable rates, while factoring in cost elements for personal safety equipment for healthcare providers, the ministry said.
It has been suggested that the rates, once fixed, must be widely publicised so that both the patients and service providers are fully aware and capacities are used optimally, it said.
States have also been asked to proactively engage with the private sector health providers and consider pooling in public and private healthcare facilities, as this will help in providing prompt, good quality and reasonable health care to COVID-19 patients, the ministry said.