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    Karnataka: Congress demands free treatment for COVID-19 patients

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    The Karnataka Congress demanded free treatment for all COVID-19 patients and standard treatment protocol for the pandemic across all hospitals in the state as it is feared that only the rich would get priority in treatment during the crisis.

    “The ill-planned lockdown snatched the livelihood of people and inconvenienced them too. Now, the exorbitant cost of treatment at private hospitals, fixed by the state government, is daunting even to the middle class” said former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

    He added “If a family of 4-5 people contract the virus, they will end up spending Rs. 10-12 lakh. The government should provide free treatment and evolve a standard treatment protocol too. A task force should monitor the compliance to the protocol,” said former chief minister Siddaramaiah”.

    KPCC chief D.K. Shivakumar, during a press meet in Bengaluru on Thursday, urged the state government not to discriminate among COVID patients.

    With the sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases in the state, the government designated the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) as the nodal agency to recommend the patient to private hospital after assessing the bed occupancy in the government hospitals.

    As per the recent order, the COVID-19 patients referred to private hospitals by the public authorities will be treated for free as the government will bear that cost.

     The package rates have been fixed for the patients referred to private hospital by the Public Health Authorities—general ward (Rs 5,200 per day), HDU (Rs 7,000), Isolation ICU without ventilator (Rs 8,500) and isolation ICU with ventilator (Rs 10,000).

    The price cap for COVID-19 patients directly admitted to the private hospitals and those making cash payment without Insurance is Rs 10,000 for general ward, Rs 12,000 for HDU, while Isolation ICU without ventilator is charged Rs 15,000 and ICU with ventilator is Rs 25,000.

    However, private hospitals have not agreed to the package rates fixed by the government and have also refused to be enlisted as COVID-19 hospitals citing lack of infrastructure and expertise.

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