2020-06-24 21:45:00

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday said that it will foot the bill for covid-19 positive patients referred by public health institutes (PHI) to private healthcare providers (PHP) in the state.

The decision comes a day after the government was at the received criticism for fixing high-cost treatment at private hospitals which are roped into aid efforts to battle the rising cases of covid-19 in the state.

“For covid-19 patients referred by the PHIs to private healthcare providers, the cost of the treatment is completely free for the patient and (the) government will pick up the cost,” according to a statement by the health department on Wednesday.

The notification comes at a time when the state is witnessing a surge in positive cases whose infections have now started to spread locally that indicates the possibility of community transmission.

However, those who directly approach private hospitals will have to bear the cost of treatment that could go up as high as 25,000 per day for isolation in the intensive care unit (ICU) with a ventilator.

With a minimum of 14-days hospitalisation and the high cost of treatment was criticised as it would further pile on problems for ordinary citizens reeling under prolonged economic uncertainty that has led to job losses, salary cuts and shortage of cash.

Around 500 private hospitals were roped in to aid the battle against covid-19 as the state has projected to have around 25,000 positive cases by mid-August. The state confirmed 397 cases on Wednesday and breached the 10,000 mark ahead of projections that fueled the debate on if the government should announce another lockdown to contain the high number of cases.

All patients belonging to economically weaker sections, migrant labourers and interstate returnees who do not possess ration cards will be eligible, the government said.

The state government has converted stadiums and other large spaces to isolate asymptomatic persons and roped in private hospitals to help increase the number of beds and doctors in battling the virus.

The government also held discussions with private hospitals and hotels associations on the need to establish more covid-19 care centres (CCC) that will house asymptomatic persons.”While the government is establishing CCCs at large spaces such as stadiums, hotels, hostels, stadiums etc. free of cost, the privately-run CCCs are planned for patients wishing to access private healthcare in luxury,” the health department said in another statement.

The prices of private CCC is yet to be determined.

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