As hospitals abide by preventive protocols, medical bills of non-covid patients surge

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Ritika Pathak

, Health, Special

With every hospital strictly abiding by covid-19 preventive measures, medical costs of non-covid patients have risen significantly. Endeavouring to curb the spread of the virus within the hospitals’ premises, they have been mandated to purchase personal protective equipment which are used by healthcare professionals as sanitisation measures. However, the biggest concern for them is the fact that the cost of PPEs is not being covered by their insurance.

Use of PPEs in hospitals have been mandated by the Union Health Ministry recently and guidelines for the same have also been issued. A combination of protective gears meant to safeguard healthcare workers from being exposed to any biological agent, PPPE consists of goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, gown, head cover and shoe cover. Nevertheless, it is those patients who have to visit regularly for blood transfusions, dialysis, chemotherapies, etc who are bearing the brunt. With the need to visit hospitals on a regular basis and purchase PPEs for every visit, they have been finding their healthcare bills to be rising significantly.

Patients have witnessed an estimate 10 – 25 percent increase in treatment costs across private hospitals. Even for the latter, the overall costs have surged with substantial infection preventive measures being taken. Despite that, some private hospitals like Fortis have kept the percentage at bare minimum to relief patients to some extent from the exorbitant medical bills. “There is no increase in the cost for chemotherapy and dialysis. For elective surgeries, where PPE is required, the cost of the actual PPE being used is added. Also, to ensure minimal impact on patient, the price of PPE is being charged at much lower than the MRP,” said a spokesperson of the hospital.

With the cost of medical treatment procedures already high and add to that the cost of PPEs, non-covid patients are grappling to pay for the extra bill which insurance doesn’t cover.

 

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