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Combine medicine and humanitarianism
Having proved time and again that these are solely money minting setups, private hospitals leave no stone unturned to add extra charges to a patient’s bill. Most patients who do not know anything about medical science pay up without arguing. Healthcare providers have no right whatsoever to charge for PPE kits they use while treating patients. The great thing about our country is that we can encash every opportunity and the same is happening now. Give the common man a break, his patience is wearing thin. Governing bodies should find out what’s happening at these institutes. Not everyone who visits a private hospital can afford to be overcharged, especially in the current scenario with widespread unemployment. Medicine and humanitarianism should be combined in times like these.
Madhav Bansal , Chandigarh

Let the government help
Hospitals are not being fair to patients by overcharging them for safety kits. The government should step in and provide funds for such equipment to all hospitals.
Saikrit Gulati , Chandigarh

Stringent action against hospitals required
The medical fraternity, including doctors,nurses and their supporting staff are the frontline warriors fighting to save precious lives by risking their own. While good samaritans are donating masks, gloves and sanitisers in slums and colonies on the city’s periphery, some private hospitals are fleecing patients in this crisis. Medical authorities should take stringent action against such institutes.
Usha Verma, Chandigarh

Hospitals have to ensure a patient’s safety, they should pay
Private hospitals work on a profit motive and will charge a patient extra if any additional facilities are provided. The problem however is that such institutes are already handing over hefty bills to patients so expecting them to pay additional costs when the hospital is duty bound to ensure a patient’s safety, is not fair. The government should specify a cost ceiling for such items.
Avinash Goyal

Responsible people take care of their own expenses
As the Indian economy has been hit because of Covid-19, people should become responsible citizens and pay for treatment, which includes protective equipment of the healthworkers.It is the time for people to start taking care of their own expenses.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh.

Charges justified in unprecedented Covid scenario
The whole world has by now experienced the devastating effect of the coronavirus on the lives of people, social and political fabric, and the economical and behavioural aspects of our daily life. So the financial component in day to day life cannot be ignored. As nothing comes free, except for unsolicited advice.Private hospitals as well as private clinics have the legitimate right to charge for the PPEs in this Covid scenario. The Corona situation has imposed too many protocols in terms of space, equipment, manpower and other logistics in addition to significant reduction of available operating time and OPD slots. Factually, the extra financial burden cannot be simply passed on as PPE charge, but can be billed as a ‘Covid charge’, to cover the multiple financial implications. Going by the country’s health care system, around 80% is being looked after by corporate hospitals, nursing homes and other small private practices. These have to survive and serve on a model, which cannot match the health budgets of government institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Even these institutions, while charging the fixed hospital charges, often ask patients to buy medicines, consumable supplies (gloves, syringes, surgical wraps) and medical devices (implants, intraocular lenses and cardiac stents). Private hospitals can always and will be increasing their fee for different procedures, but they do so after following certain administrative procedures. Currently, under the declared fee and contract, there is no choice for them but to put expenses for Covid safety as a separate charge, which was never foreseen. The fact remains that well meaning and understanding patients should be willing to pay the extra charge without any hesitation, so long as it is reasonable and justified.
Ashok Utreja, Chandigarh

Let state govt, NGOs step in to help
In the wake of the pandemic when the masses are already grappling with financial crises, burden of payment of PPE kits should not be imposed on public. It is the duty of all hospitals to bear such costs. Alternatively, the state government can start a policy to contribute a limited amount for the kits. NGOs can come forward to donate kits or to contribute funds for the kits. As all of us have to learn how to live for a longer term with coronavirus and make up for financial losses. The government should make suitable arrangements to provide PPE kits in all the hospitals without burdening the common man.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

It shouldn’t be must for the patients to pay for PPE
There has been a great loss of lives amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the numbers are expected to rise. People need quality medical care. We have also seen that due to the pandemic many have lost their jobs, some haven’t been given salaries or have faced pay cuts.In this scenario how can we expect them to pay for PPE kits and other expenses? Now only the well off can afford to pay expensive hospital bills, definitely not all, so they must not be charged for safety kits used by healthcare staff. One solution to this should be that the government should provide adequate safety kits to the hospital to ease the burden on patients.
Komal Sharma, Chandigarh

Cash, kits donated, ask UT authorities for help
As the coronavirus is not a man made calamity, all facilities and the best possible treatment must be given by private hospitals at discounted rates to patients. They must not treat the onslaught of Covid-19 as an opportunity to make more money. As regards the cost of PPE kits used by the treating paramedics, there is reportedly enough PPE stock with the UT health director and government hospitals, courtesy liberal donations for this purpose by various socially conscious NGOs.Our resident welfare association at Modern Housing Complex, Sector13, donated Rs 2 lakh for the purpose on April 6, 2020, to the UT administration and PPE kits etc were given. Private Hospitals will do well to approach the authorities concerned to obtain these PPE kits free of cost instead of making their patients pay for it.
SC Luthra, Chandigarh

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