India

Covid can be treated for Rs 10K, says Telangana minister

Hyderabad, Aug 2 (IANS) Amid large-scale complaints of private hospitals fleecing Covid-19 patients, Telangana Health Minister E. Rajender on Sunday said a patient can be treated for Rs 10,000.

The minister told reporters that the treatment for coronavirus is not costly. “If we keep aside medicines like Remdesivir, Tosilizumab and Favipiravir, the treatment of Covid-19 is possible within Rs 10,000 with medicines and oxygen and if advanced treatment is required, it can cost a maximum of Rs 1 lakh. It does not require a daily Rs 1 lakh or Rs 2 lakh,” he said.

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Rajender said since people were scared, private hospitals were making them pay in advance for allocation of beds and Rs 1 lakh daily for treatment. “It's unfortunate that they are charging Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh,” he said and warned that action would be taken against hospitals which were acting irresponsibly and burdening people with inflated bills.

The government has been receiving several complaints against private hospitals that they were overcharging and also resorting to harassment.

“We have received many complaints like creating artificial shortage of beds, demanding Rs 3-4 lakh as advance, charging Rs 1-2 lakh per day for treatment, not releasing the body unless bills are cleared, treating asymptomatic cases, inflating their medical bills and dumping patients in government hospitals once their conditions turn serious,” the minister had said at a review meeting on Saturday.

The minister on Sunday also advised people not to rush to private hospitals in panic, but seek treatment in government hospitals which were providing better treatment both in districts and in Hyderabad.

He said beds were available in sufficient numbers at government hospitals like the Gandhi Hospital, the Chest Hospital, the King Koti Hospital, the Fever Hospital and the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS).

Rajender was talking to reporters after a visit to the TIMS, a newly-established hospital and a dedicated Covid facility. Wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and accompanied by top officials, he went around the premises, including the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and interacted with Covid patients and enquired about their problems, treatment and the facilities available.

He said the 1,350-bed TIMS was equipped with the best infrastructure including ICUs, wards, rooms, labs, and the recently-launched medicines for Covid treatment.

Rajender advised people to seek treatment immediately after noticing Covid symptoms as the delay was leading to complications, especially among those with a history of respiratory issues. “Lungs of such patients are getting affected if there is a delay of 4-5 days in taking the treatment,” he said.

Stating that oxygen is more permanent for treatment of Covid, the minister said liquid oxygen tankers were being arranged at government-run hospitals to overcome the shortage of oxygen cylinders.

While this facility was already provided in the Gandhi Hospital, other hospitals like MGM at Warangal and Sarojni Devi, Chest Hospital, King Koti Hospital, Fever Hospital and Osmania Hospitals would also have liquid oxygen tankers before August 10.

Telangana reported 66,677 Covid cases and 540 deaths as of August 1.

–IANS

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