GUWAHATI, April 17 - The medical emergency situation caused by COVID-19 is now posing a challenge to the private medical sector too, especially in Guwahati, with a rapid decline in the number of daily OPD patients. Almost every private hospital has been facing severe financial losses from the first day of the lockdown.
The city-based private hospitals facing losses also include the 36 hospitals empanelled by the State government in order to provide free treatment under the Atal Amrit Abhiyan (AAA) and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to non-coronavirus patients.
�We are trying to provide best treatment to every patient admitted to our hospital under AAA or PMJAY. But as per estimate, for every such patient we will face a loss of around 60 per cent,� the owner of a city-based private hospital said.
The doctor also complained that the payment process under AAA and PMJAY is a very lengthy one and has a number of loopholes.
�The rates mentioned under the two schemes against various treatments are not up-to-date. Even as per rules of the two schemes, a doctor will get a very nominal fee against every patient. So, at present we are doing social service by incurring financial losses. I am clueless as to how to manage the expenditure for next month, which will be around Rs 5 crore including bank loans and salaries of employees,� he added.
The doctor also said that all health workers working in the private hospitals of Guwahati are at high risk as a section of patients intentionally hide their travel history.
A senior management official at a private hospital stated that after the lockdown the number of OPD patients has come down by 70 per cent. �In our hospital, at present most of the patients are availing treatment under AAA and PMJAY. This is causing serious financial losses to us and may impact payment of salary to our staff next month. By the way, in such a crisis situation we are trying to provide best medical service to the public,� he said.
Another senior staff member at a private hospital said that in such a situation financial losses are inevitable as the entire human civilisation is at risk.