The government order issued in the name of the governor of Manipur by the state Health Department in connection with the upper limit charges for Covid-19 related treatment on June 1, 2021 after modification of the earlier order dated May 26, due to genuine complaints from the private hospital has been accepted by all the four private hospital which has been providing treatment to Covid-19 related patients. These hospitals have also agreed to accept treatment to CMHT and PMJAY cardholders Covid-19 related patients. The day one, when the order was issued sees smile to many as they felt it as a sign of relief while treatment at a private hospital, as the two major hospitals – RIMS and JNIMS were always full and hard to get admitted as these people with the CMHT cards have no near and dear one working at both the hospitals.
The revised order of the state Health Department issued in the name of the governor fixed the maximum charges for treatment of Covid-19 related patient at Rs. 3000/- for general / isolation wards. For the Dependency Unit (HDU), which the doctor felt essential for the separate room the charge fixed was Rs. 7000/- . The order also fixed the upper limit charged for Covid patients at ICU without ventilator use at Rs. 8000/- and for those with ventilator used the Charge is fixed at Rs. 10,000/-. There are extra charges for medicines, testing, PPE kits, and other laboratory testing etc. These charges fixed include Registration Charge, Bed Charge, Nursing and boarding charge.
The order came into force on June 1, 2021. However, the bill amount issued from a private hospital reflected to charge much more than the fixed charge by the government. A Covid-19 patient should pay Rs. 3000/- as room rent per day and also an amount of Rs. 8,500/- for the same day as Covid ward Package Charges. This includes Doctors’ visit charge, disposable bed sheets, pillow cover, Biomedical charges, ward materials, PPE kits and also for disinfection. These are mandatory charges for each Covid-19 related patient once admitted for treatment at the private hospital which this newspaper contacted while clarifying a news report which contains some factual error.
Now the total amount to be spent by a Covid patient per day after admitting to the hospital is Rs. 11,500/- (Rs.8,500 + Rs.3000) without including other charges. However, in section 3 of the order, it is mentioned that the Hospital can charge separately for PPE kits. There are others co-morbidity diseases that can also be charged by the hospital.
The hospital owner of the AOI Babina Specialty Hospital has clarified that they procured PPE kits at Rs. 1,600/-. Imagining the doctors’ attendance fee to be Rs. 2000 or perhaps less, still the total amount spent by a patient in a day comes around Rs. 7,900/- per day.
When the minimum amount to be spent by a Covid related patient is Rs. 7,900/- without including other charges allowed by the state health department, how could the government order said that – ‘the maximum Charges per day for General /Isolation Patient is Rs. 3,000/- . If the order of the State health Directorate stated that the maximum room charge for room rent is Rs. 3000/- then it could have been reasonable.
Technically, the government order is not followed, and this is nothing but the humiliation of the state administration and the Governor of the state. If the state government department makes a mockery of the head of the state, what should be the award given to the person issuing the order? A matter that the office of the Governor has to ponder. As for the civilians, such things like issuing order and not enforcing by the authority themselves is not new. People have seen many times.