IHHR recently reported on the troubling revelation that private healthcare facilities in India have suffered revenue losses of up to 70 per cent during the final 10 days of March due to the scale of cancelled elective procedures and lack of international patients. As lockdown measures start to ease, hospitals and surgeries have been able to restart the cancelled and postponed elective procedures.
“Overall, the costs have increased for us. Disinfection, sterilisations, infection control, setting up isolation wards, staff rotations and quarantines, responsible waste disposal and comprehensive disinfection are all essential now,” said a spokesperson for Fortis Healthcare – a hospital network in India. “Physical distancing has also increased logistics costs… However, for patients, there has been a minimal increase due to Covid testing (where required as per protocol) and PPE usage.”
Those undergoing regular blood transfusions, dialysis and chemotherapies are reported as being the individuals most often finding their costs increasing – due to the PPE equipment charges.
“It is important to note that any increase is attributable to the direct input cost for that patient and doesn’t cover the increased expenses incurred for ensuring an infection-free and safe environment,” said the Fortis Healthcare spokesperson. “There is no increase in the cost for chemotherapy and dialysis. For elective surgeries, where PPE is required, the cost of the actual PPE being used is added. Also, to ensure minimal impact on patient, the price of PPE is being charged at much lower than the MRP.”
As many insurers will not cover PPE cost for non-Covid treatment, this is where the price inflation is occurring – Fortis Healthcare estimated its overall percentage increase on cost for these individuals to be between three and five per cent.