Ongoing Corona crisis has somewhat given an additional leverage to the private hospitals in tricking and luring us, the people. Although the Delhi Government has increased the Corona beds in the private hospitals, apart from the availability of ventilators and oxygen support, but the situation on ground is altogether contrary to what the agencies would want us to believe.
Checking the supplies of the essential medical facilities is a crucial component, given the alarming situation and circumstances in which we find ourselves in. Who will shoulder the burden for the hefty and exorbitant sums being charged by scores of private hospitals indulging in trading benefits from the present crisis situation? The heap will fall on the ordinary people who fear denial of treatment and are coerced into giving what they wouldn’t have otherwise.
I wonder as to why our healthcare system and infrastructure believes in minting money at the cost of saving and securing the lives of the ordinary people? Who has given them this right to fiddle with the belief and value system of the people, and for what all practices and purpose? This could be better illustrated from Vineet Wadhwa’s harrowing experience in finding treatment for his 58-year-old uncle. The experience led him to file a PIL in the Delhi High Court calling for the capping of rates at private hospitals, among from other interventions.
Mr Wadhwa’s uncle tested positive for Corona on June 8, and they tried admitting him at Akash Healthcare in Dwarka but were deterred by the charges. Patients were being charged around ₹40,000 per day or encouraged to take up a “10-day package”. These ranged from “economy” costing ₹3 lakh , “sharing” costing ₹3.5 lakh to a “deluxe” package of ₹4 lakh.
Similarly on May 14, Tushar Jindal, 40, a kidney patient, tested positive for novel coronavirus, and the family made calls to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. The private hospital allegedly asked for an advance deposit of ₹5 lakh for admission. As the amount was too high for the family, following advice from his nephrologist, they admitted him at Max Hospital in Saket, where an advance of ₹2.5 Lakh had to be paid.
Corona tests in Delhi have been capped at ₹6500, but how many can afford it? Who should we hold answerable for our woes and plights, if not the ones in authority and power. The othering and stigma associated with Corona has led to serious and severe psychological and physiological impairments, leading to our reluctance in disclosing the disease. Thus, it is all the more imperative to allow people in and around to be strong, and support them instead of being paranoid.
I believe that any pandemic has the ability to wreak havoc on the healthcare system, if it is not structured to meet the requirements of the individual. India has seen lesser investments in scientific inventions and innovations, which would have bettered our prospects in dealing with such handicaps. This pandemic has already exposed the fault lines which were the defining feature of our healthcare management system.
Delhi, being the capital, hogged the limelight for mohalla clinic in every constituent of the city wherein, at macro level, accessible and efficient health facilities were provided to the poor and rich alike. Health services in the Delhi government hospitals were uplifted and ameliorated with a renewed synergy. However, this focus only proved to be short-lived.
In my viewpoint, the State Government should take a lesson or two from Telangana and Maharashtra government by fixing a price cap on the treatment in private hospitals. As per the latest government notification, BMC has taken over 80% beds in all private hospitals as they won’t be allowed to charge beyond a certain price cap. Similarly, Telangana Government has capped prices for COVID tests and treatment as these charges will be separate from the cost of antiviral drugs that the private hospital will administer to the coronavirus patients.
Delhi can take the lead when both the governments, Central and State, shunning all their difference of opinions, can come forward in mitigating the after-effects of this crisis by providing us, the people, with premium healthcare facilities. An ordinary individual does look upto the government when confronting such a situation, and it is a moral duty of the government to rescue and help its citizens.
I do believe both the governments have the potential and capacity. By increasing testing and capping the rates of testing and treatment, we surely will be able to reduce the caseloads, along with casualities. Ensuring cooperation, collaboration and coordination between different organs and agencies will become easier by enhancing efficiency and reliance.