Private hospitals in Telangana begin bookings for COVID-19 tests

The price of the test has been capped at Rs 2,200, and Rs 2,800 if the sample is to be collected from home

Hyderabad: Booking for hospital beds and testing for Covid-19 started on Monday morning as soon as the government announced that private hospitals and laboratories can conduct tests in the state. People who have symptoms or are primary contacts of Covid-19 positive patients lined up for tests.

The price of the test has been capped at Rs 2,200, and Rs 2,800 if the sample is to be collected from home. The cost of treatment has been fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh for seven days, but it does not include room charges and other costs. While counselling will be carried out for Covid 19 positive patients and their relatives.

Private hospitals are offering home treatment packages to patients who have mild symptoms, as it is easy to treat less immune-compromised patients. With isolation wards full and the waiting list increasing, patients who have been frequenting hospitals and have been referred by consultants are being given this option.

Dr Rahul Medakkar, chief executive officer of Continental Hospitals, said, “We have 15 patients on home treatment regime who have mild symptoms or have come in contact with Covid-19 positive patients. They have been given pulse oximeters for checking oxygen levels, monitor blood pressure and heart pulse rate and inform us. We have video conferencing by doctors from hospitals.”

Those who have room for isolation and a separate bathroom at home are opting for this facility as it is found to be convenient. The package rate for home care is Rs 8,000 and additional charges for devices and oxygen cylinder as may be needed.

This has come as a relief for those who need not get themselves admitted to hospital and be accommodated with critical patients, if they have to be only kept in isolation.

Private hospitals say that the charges approved by the government will not be feasible for them.

A senior doctor on condition of anonymity said, “The cost of manpower in terms of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff has increased by 25 per cent. They work for five days and are given break of four days as they must not get the infection. Those wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) kits can only work for four hours. These factors have increased costs tremendously.”
Interestingly, as against the Rs 1.5 lakh cap for seven days at a private hospital, the Gandhi Hospital is said to spend Rs 3 lakh per patient on ventilator.

Dr Bhaskar Rao, managing director of Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “Patients now have options but there cannot be a standard rate for all. There are many other aspects that must be considered like complications that occur during treatment and this increases the use of medical devices and supplies. These are not included in any package and are always additional charges."

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