Govt will look into claims of overcharging Covid-19 patients at pvt hospitals: Health minister
The government will look into the overcharging for treatment of Covid-19 patients at private hospitals, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said today.
He said this while replying to a query on Covid-19 patients' treatment cost at public and private healthcare settings following the inauguration of the National Vitamin A plus campaign in Dhaka.
"We will look into this issue so that they [private healthcare organization] cannot overcharge [Covid-19 patients]," the minister said in reply to a query about what the government has done to stop the overcharge of Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals.
Earlier in the day, the health minister said in the parliament that the expense for a patient in a normal bed is Tk 15,000 and Tk 50,000 for an ICU bed per day.
"This was a study of the Health Economics Unit (HEU) [of the health ministry]," the minister told the journalists.
On May 1, the HEU study revealed that the government has been spending an average of Tk 1.28 lakh for the treatment of a Covid-19 patient in general beds and Tk 4.08 lakh in an intensive care unit (ICU).
The study also found that the Covid-19 treatment cost was abnormally higher in private hospitals than public healthcare facilities.
The major differences were found in the diagnosis and medicine cost which -- according to experts -- were due to not following the national Covid-19 treatment protocol.
In case of private Covid-19 hospitals, the Covid-19 treatment cost was around Tk 2.42 lakh in general beds and around Tk 5.09 lakh in ICU beds – a cost which is completely covered by the patients.
There are different additional expenses for Covid-19 treatment—one is vaccines and another is treatment, according to the study.
At private hospitals, a Covid-19 patient spends the most, around 30 percent of the total expenditure, on medicine, almost double than that at public hospitals.
The diagnosis cost was 17.7 percent of the total expenses in private hospitals -- over seven times higher than the diagnosis cost in public hospitals.
"The expenses for diagnosis and medicine are abnormally higher in private hospitals than the public facilities. It indicates the national treatment protocol for Covid-19 is not being followed properly," Dr Md Nurul Amin, director of research of the HEU who led the study team, told The Daily Star last month.