The Haryana government will soon issue an order fixing the cost of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals, Health Minister Anil Vij said on Tuesday (June 23).
Vij said that he had discussed the modalities with senior officials of his department and a formal order would be issued soon.
“For private hospitals, we are going to fix the rates. I have discussed this with my officials and orders will be issued soon,” Vij told PTI over phone.
He said that the government would fix charges of isolation beds in private hospitals, ICU beds without ventilator, ICU beds with ventilator, and medicines to be administered.
Vij said that while treatment is free in government facilities in the state, the government wants to make sure that treatment is affordable even for those who opt for private hospitals.
On June 19, the state government had issued directions that private laboratories should not charge more than ₹2,400 for RT-PCR test for COVID-19, inclusive of GST and other taxes.
Vij said that to ramp up testing, the Haryana government on Monday gave orders to procure one lakh antigen-based testing kits with approval of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The scale of testing will significantly go up using these kits, which quickly put out results, he said.
On the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Haryana this month, Vij said that they were expecting infections to rise once borders were opened and more relaxations given leading to free movement of people.
Haryana, which has over 11,000 cases with 169 fatalities, is the fifth state in India to put a cap on COVID-19 treatment charges in private hospitals. The other states include: Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and the national capital of Delhi.
Gurgaon and Faridabad districts, which fall in the National Capital Region, are the worst hit with the highest number of fatalities. These two districts also account for the majority of the total cases.
Asked if there is a possibility of reimposition of stricter measures like sealing of borders with Delhi if the cases continue to rise, Vij said, “We are keeping an eye, but as of now there is no such move.”
Amid rising number of COVID-19 cases, the Haryana government had said 1,106 final-year MBBS students studying in government and private medical colleges would be deployed for effective management of the pandemic.
We have come up with a protocol for these students and it has been decided that they will not be put on hard duties. We will deploy them in carrying out surveys, maintaining containment zones, sample collection etc. We need more manpower in the hospitals and this step will help spare our doctors and other health professionals who otherwise have to manage these duties as well, said Vij.
He said that final-year B.Sc and M.Sc nursing students will also assist in effective management of the pandemic and the chief medical officers of districts will use their services accordingly.
Vij further said that over 600 doctors had been recruited recently, of whom 350 have already joined.
Meanwhile, over 4.78 lakh calls were received in state-level control room set up by various government departments of Haryana for supporting residents during the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown.
From the time the nationwide lockdown was imposed in March, till the 21st of June, 4,78,369 calls were received, of which 4,54,000 were answered during the period, an official spokesman said on Monday.
He said that out of the total calls received, 1,40,096 were related to health and 3,06,684 were general in nature.
He said that 95 per cent of the calls were successfully answered with an average waiting time of less than 10 seconds.
Also, tele-counselling was made available to 31,592 people.
The spokesman said in a statement that the calls were mainly related to the Health Department, Transport, and Food and Supplies Department.
For enquiries related to health and coronavirus, the caller was given information sought, while the calls related to ration and food packets were forwarded to the nodal officers at district-level through WhatsApp, the statement said.
Calls related to non-compliance of law and order and lockdown norms were passed on to the Nodal Officer, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)