In a bid to ramp up the Covid vaccination exercise in the state, the Assam government is offering interest-free loans to private hospitals to help them procure the shots.
Speaking to reporters in Guwahati today, Health minister Keshab Mahanta said. "We have decided to help private hospitals in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines by providing them interest-free loans for three months."
"So, if any private hospital wants to purchase vaccines but cannot afford to do so, we will help them," he added.
The minister said that the state is currently administering 50,000 vaccine doses daily and aims to ramp it up to 70,000. There is a shortage of vaccines, but the state will receive a fresh supply of doses in the next couple of days, he said.
On a day the state government capped the Covid treatment rates in private hospitals, the minister said they had received complaints of overcharging and taken them up with owners of hospitals. "We asked them to fix the rates. We brought rate charts from hospitals across India and told them not to charge high rates from Covid patients."
As per the new rates fixed by the state government, superspeciality hospitals can charge a maximum of Rs 5,000 daily if the patient is admitted to a ward, Rs 6,500 if the patient is in a cabin and Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 if the patient is undergoing treatment in an ICU with ventilator support.
The daily Covid treatment rates for regular private hospitals are Rs 4,000 for general ward and Rs 5,000 for cabin. Daily charges for treatment in ICU can range from Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000.
High-end investigations such as CT scan and expensive medication such as Remdesivir won't be covered under these daily rates, as per the order.
The minister also said that the daily Covid count in Assam is declining and the state government hopes that it will be able to relax the restrictions soon. "We are hopeful that after June 15, we will see a new set of Covid restrictions," he said.