Maharashtra To Take Over 80% Beds in Private Hospitals; Caps Costs for Treatment
The Maharashtra government has finally decided to cap charges levied by private hospitals for treating patients of coronavirus (COVID-19). A notification issued by the public health department caps the charges per day for COVID-19 patients at Rs4,000 for general beds, followed by Rs8,000 for intensive care unit (ICU) and Rs9,000 for ventilators beds. 
 
In addition, the state government also decided to take control of up to 80% beds in private hospitals run by charitable trusts for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients for three months till August.

The government has also imposed ceilings on treatment of around 270 procedures or surgeries for non-COVID cases.

While regular government rates would be applicable for the 80% beds, the hospitals would be permitted to fix their charges for the remaining 20% beds.
 
As per the notification signed by Dr Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary to the government, these charges include monitoring and investigations like complete blood count (CBC), urine routine, HIV spot, anti-HCV, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), serum, creatinine, ultrasonography (USG), 2D echo, X-ray, ECG and drugs as well as consultations, bed charges, nursing charges, and meals. 
 
Charges for personal protective equipment (PPE), interventional procedures, COVID-19 testing, cost of high-end medicines would be charged at maximum retail price. Cost of high-end investigation like CT scan and MRI would be charged as per the department's earlier circular issued on 31 December 2019. 
 
Apart from this, the mark-up on expensive medicines has been capped at 10% of the procurement rates, and the hospital cannot charge the patient more than the MRP, the notification says.
 
The move comes as the state touched a staggering 1,454 deaths and 41,642 Coronavirus cases to date, while 11,726 have been cured and sent home.

The decision was also prompted by many complaints of exorbitant bills churned out by private hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients allegedly taking advantage of the prevalent crisis situation.
 
As per the notification, several healthcare providers in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel and Pune have specific agreements or agreements with general insurance public sector associations (GIPSA) as a member of preferred private network (PPN) for rates of various treatment packages. However, there are many, who are not part of the GIPSA-PPN and have their own agreements or understanding with various third-party administrators (TPAs) on rates for various treatment packages. 
 
However, the notification points out that persons who are not covered by any health insurance product or who have exhausted their health insurance cover are being charged exorbitantly causing hardship to public in general during the pandemic situation.
 
The notification asks healthcare providers to make attempt to increase their bed capacity to accommodate maximum number of patients. It says, "80% of the total operational bed capacity, excluding beds of PICU, NICU, day care, maintenance haemodialysis, will be regulated by the rates as prescribed. That means 80% of the isolation beds available with any healthcare provider should be regulated by the state government or district collectors or municipal commissioners along with 80% of the non-isolation beds. Healthcare providers may charge their rack rates to the remaining 20% of beds."
 
The notification also prohibits hospital from charging extra from those patients who have insurance cover or who are availing the treatment in the 20% beds quota.
 
Meanwhile, the state has readied 1,200 beds in St. Xaviers' College near Marine Lines and Mehboob Studios in Bandra to cater to COVID-19 patients, in addition to the Wuhan-style hospitals at Bandra Kurla Complex, NESCO Goregaon and NSCI Worli.

A health department official said the latest moves would greatly enhance the COVID-19 treatment facilities and infrastructure in the state as the cases continued to increase.
 
Here is the notification issued by the public health department…
 
 
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    NPPA Asks N95 Mask Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers to Maintain Parity in Prices
    Instead of capping price of N95 masks that are most required by healthcare professionals who are frontline fighters in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked makers, importers and suppliers of these masks to maintain parity in prices for all buyers.
     
    In an office memorandum, Alok Ranjan, assistant director in the NPPA, which functions under the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemical and fertilizers, says, "...in order to ensure availability of N95 masks at affordable prices in the country, NPPA hereby directs manufacturers, importers and suppliers of the N95 masks to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices."
     
    The Authority, however, failed to explain what is the reasonable price of N95 masks. 
     
    As repeatedly pointed out by Moneylife, without any directive from the government, there is rampant black markereering and hoarding of N95 masks across the country. 
     
    In fact, on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court (BHC) had asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil C Singh to take instructions from the Union government on capping prices for N95 masks and respond by Friday on two letters sent by Maharashtra government on the same subject.
     
    When the ASG informed the bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice SS Shinde that the government had already capped prices of two-ply, three-ply masks and hand sanitisers, the bench orally directed him to take instructions on what the central government has done regarding the representation sent by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prices of N95 masks.
     
    The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sucheta Dalal, founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation and Anjali Damania, founder-trustee of Voice of Indian Taxpayers, a non-government organisation (NGO). 
     
    The 13th May letter sent by the commissioner of Maharashtra food and drug administration (FDA) had requested the chairman of NPPA to fix price for sale of N95 masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) kits. 
     
    The second letter sent on 15 May 2020 by the Maharashtra FDA to the NPPA shares details of investigation carried out and reports the findings against four companies in the state. The joint commissioner's response also includes the prices currently being offered by various manufacturers namely, Magnum (Rs250), Venus (Rs180) and 3M (Rs121 or Rs146 depending on the model no.) of N95 masks. The commissioner reinforces in his letter that while investigation in this matter is being carried out, the NPPA should expedite the pricing matter on top priority. 
     
    The PIL sought relief from black marketeering, hoarding and profiteering of N95 masks in Maharashtra despite N95 masks being declared as essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The petition also alleged that Maharashtra state had failed to take adequate measures to ensure that sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks at fair prices.
     
    "While these N95 masks are being sold at marked up rates of over 150% by insidious dealers, the frontline workers do not have enough N95 masks and till date more than 800 frontline workers have tested COVID-19 positive mainly due to the lack of adequate protective gear including N95 masks," the PIL mentions. 
     
    N95 masks or N95 respirators are particulate-filtering facepieces which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, also known as non-woven polypropylene fabric, which is produced through a process called melt blowing that forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles. These masks provide protection against particulates but not against gases or vapours. Thus, these masks are ideal for use for frontline workers including healthcare workers who work in close proximity to the COVID-19 patients, as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads via respiratory droplets and particulates from cough, sneezes and talking.
     
    As the number of confirmed cases grew, the demand for hand sanitizers and masks (including N95 masks) grew exponentially. On 13 March 2020, the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution issued an order for regulating production, quality, distribution, logistics of masks (two-ply, three-ply surgical masks and N95 masks) and hand sanitisers and further prevented hoarding, black marketing and profiteering on these items.
     
    The ministry of chemical and fertilisers also passed an order on 13 March 2020 directing all state governments, union territories (UTs) and concerned state authorities to take necessary steps to ensure sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices (MRP) printed on the pack size. 
     
    You may also want to read...
     
     
     
     
     
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    J&J stops selling baby talcum powder in US, Canada following charges that it causes cancer
    Johnson & Johnson (J&J), US-based global healthcare company, has announced it will stop selling baby talcum powder in the US and Canada. According to the media reports, the company faces thousands of consumer lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.
     
    The announcement comes after years of litigation where J&J has been asked to pay billions of dollars in damages. It faces over 16,000 consumer lawsuits alleging talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
     
    J&J said it would wind down sales of the product, which accounted for 0.5 per cent of its US consumer health business, in the coming months. But retailers will continue to sell the existing inventory.
     
    The firm said demand for its baby powder had been declining in North America "due, in large part, to changes in consumer habits and misinformation around the safety of the product".
     
    J&J said it had faced "a constant barrage" of lawyers advertising for clients to sue the firm. "We remain steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based baby powder. Decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product," the company was quoted as saying by the BBC.
     
    In October 2019, J&J said its testing had found no asbestos in the baby powder, after tests by the US Food and Drug Administration discovered trace amounts.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    We are listening!

    Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
      Loading...
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email

    BUY NOW

    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
    online financia advisory
    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
    financial magazines online
    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
    financial magazines in india
    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)
    FREE: Your Complete Family Record Book
    Keep all the Personal and Financial Details of You & Your Family. In One Place So That`s Its Easy for Anyone to Find Anytime
    We promise not to share your email id with anyone