In a move that could bring relief for Covid-19 positive patients in Delhi, a committee formed by the central government has recommended capping the cost of beds in private hospitals.
The committee led by a NITI Aayog member recommended that Covid-19 isolation beds be charged between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000, significantly down from Rs 25,000 being charged at present.
It proposed that ICU beds without ventilator be charged at Rs 13,000-15,000 instead of the current cost of Rs 34,000-43,000. The committee recommended that prices of ICU beds with ventilators be capped at Rs 15,000-18,000 which currently costs Rs 44,000-54,000.
The prices suggested by the committee are inclusive of the cost of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits.
Officials in the home ministry told CNN-News18 that the final order will be issued by the Delhi government, which is likely to accept the recommendation. "Some elbow room can be given to the hospital to decide within the recommended band. For example, a NABH-accredited hospital can charge the higher price in the band," an official said.
If the Delhi government accepts the recommendations, the new pricing will be implemented for 60% of beds meant for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals.
Home minister Amit Shah had announced on Sunday after meeting Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and L-G Anil Baijal that private hospitals will have to reserve 60% of Covid-19 beds for subsidised treatment.
"To provide relief to the common man in Delhi, HM @AmitShah constituted a committee under Member of @NITIAayog to fix rates charged by Pvt hospitals in Delhi for isolation beds, ICUs without ventilator support & ICUs with ventilator support (sic)," MHA spokesperson tweeted on Friday.
Committee has recommended Rs 8000-10000, 13000-15000 & 15000-18000 including PPE costs for isolation bed, ICUs without & with ventilator respectively to all hospitals as compared to the current charges of Rs 24000-25000, 34000-43000 & 44000-54000 (excluding PPE cost)@HMOIndia
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) June 19, 2020
The spokesperson added that after Shah’s intervention, sample testing has been doubled in Delhi. A total of 27,263 testing samples have been collected between June 15 and 17 June, against the earlier daily collection which varied between 4,000 and 4,500.