Pvt Covid medical bills worry families

17 April 2021

Reza Mahmud :
Families of Covid-19 patients who were compelled to take medical treatment in private hospitals due to lack of beds in public ones are in peril for huge amount of treatment cost.
Covid patients alleged that several private hospitals charged them extremely high fees for treatment which is not reasonable anyway.
"Me and my wife infected with Covid-19 recently. My wife's condition deteriorated and was admitted to a private hospital in the capital after failing to get any vacant bed in government facilities. But I was shocked being informed about the high cost there," SM Saifuzzaman, a service holder, told a Bangla online news portal.
"The hospital takes bed charge at Tk 4000 in a ward and other service cost extra amount of Tk 4000 which is really unbearable for me," said Saifuzzaman.
He said that his wife needed no ICU bed but oxygen support. On third day after getting admitted, he found her oxygen saturation was normal. In fifth day, he had taken her back home with a risk due to unbearable treatment cost.
He said, the hospital charged a total of Tk 60,000 for her only for four days and five
nights' medical services which created a severe burden on the family depended on fixed monthly salary.
On the other hand, Nasreen Akhter, a Teacher said that she and her husband Nazim were admitted to a private hospital in Dhaka due to lack of beds in government medical facilities.
She said, "I have spent more than one lakh taka for taking treatment there for eight days without taking any ICU support."
My husband needed one month and two days medical treatment in the hospital and we had paid Tk 13 lakh for him.
Additionally, she said, her husband needed more days in rehabilitations services from the hospital and paid five lakh taka more.
Both SM Saifuzzaman and Nasreen Akhter said the medical costs were a severe burden for their families.
Both the families have taken debt from different sources including credit cards and relatives.
Sources said, the private hospitals are charging limitless charges while the government hospitals bed are fully occupied as the covid infections are rising alarmingly.
Private hospitals are charging Tk 25,000 to above one lakh for ICU beds unabatedly.
Such high costs created huge financial burdens for the families infected with the deadly disease.
When contacted, Professor Dr. M. Muzaherul Huq, former Advisor of the World Health Organisation (WHO) told The New Nation on Friday, "Government should prepare all district hospitals for COVID patients with ICU facilities and other necessary health care facilities including uninterrupted oxygen supply so that covid patients can get treatment there without going to costly private hospitals."
He said also that government must fix the management and treatment cost in different grades of hospitals for not only COVID management, but also for management of other ailments and disease conditions.
Human Health Expert Dr. Lenin Chowdhury told The New Nation on Friday, "Government has so far fixed only oxygen charge. But they should also adopt a policy for treatment costs in private hospitals."
He also suggested taking private hospitals for months due to the pandemic for ensuring treatment for all in this serious situation.

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