Doctors urge govt to fix rates for post-Covid-19 care

Doctors urge Karnataka government to fix rates for post-Covid-19 care

At the moment, only one government hospital in the state is offering post-Covid care - RGICD

Representative image. Credit: DH Photo

Patients at the city’s private post-Covid recovery clinics spend thousands of rupees on blood investigations and scans, prompting physicians to ask the state expert committee to fix rates for post-Covid treatment just as they did for Covid care. 

That would be a challenge for the government. While it could determine the tariff for inpatient stay such as for treatment in a general ward, high dependency units, ICU etc, it must now decide the rates for outpatient procedures, mostly individual diagnostic tests, to regulate post-Covid care in private hospitals. 

Until now, only one government hospital is offering post-Covid care: Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD). 

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Forty-year-old Vasudev Kolar has visited the post-Covid recovery clinic at MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital twice. “I spent Rs 11,000 on blood test, urine test and consultations. I had no symptoms during my recovery from Covid but came to the clinic to make sure all my parameters are fine. The doctors provided mental support in moving ahead,” Kolar said. 

Sixty-Four-year-old Dr Ravindra Subbanna, a physiotherapist, also said he spent Rs 10,000 on his post-Covid treatment. He suffered post-Covid symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness three months after recovery from Covid. “I was in the hospital only for three days from July 22 to July 24. I was later quarantined at home. I came to the clinic because I feel tired and experience breathlessness. I spent around Rs. 29,000 on Covid treatment and Rs. 10,000 on post-Covid care,” he said. 

Dr Tharanath S, physician at the post-Covid care clinic at MS Ramaiah hospital, said: “While Covid treatment cost is being regulated by the government, post-Covid treatment is not. This is something experts have to suggest to the government. Persistent cough and headache would require only symptomatic treatment and perhaps an X-ray or a CT scan while treating serious symptoms like pulmonary thrombosis or fibrosis would cost Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.”

Dr Naresh Shetty, President of MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, said post-Covid care treatment at a minimum should cost Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 7,000. 

Davison P K, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Hospitals Group, Karnataka Region, said: “All post-Covid patients don’t need the same level care. But I’m sure treatment at Apollo clinics will be affordable.”

The hospital group opened clinics at Jayanagar, Seshadripuram and Bannerghatta Road branches recently.