The Goa government is focussing on cutting down COVID-19 deaths linked to comorbidities, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Monday.
The government, Sawant said, had received no complaints of overcharging for treatment of COVID-19 patients by private hospitals, adding that a meeting would be called to discuss the issue of control of prices for treating patients suffering from COVID-19 at private health facilities.
"Government has decided that comorbid patients, whether they suffer from heart, cancer or kidney failure ailments, will be treated at the Goa Medical College. Our intention is to decrease the mortality rate by treating patients with comorbidities the best we can," Sawant told reporters.
The comment comes at a time when patients with comorbidities account for a high number of fatalities among the 144 COVID-19-related deaths in the state so far.
Former Governor of Goa Satya Pal Malik had criticised the state government for its inability to treat COVID-19 patients with comorbidities.
One of the reasons for the high rate of deaths of comorbid patients has been the distant location of the Employees State Insurance hospital which was Goa's only designated COVID hospital located in South Goa's Margao town.
While the facility was equipped to deal with Covid-19 patients, there were neither facilities nor experts available at the COVID-19 hospital to treat patients with comorbid conditions which sometimes required super-speciality treatment.
Sawant said that the opening up of the state's biggest medical facility, the Goa Medical College, for treatment of COVID-19 patients with comorbid conditions, would help offer better care to coronavirus patients with severe pre-existing ailments.
"They will be offered better-focussed care," Sawant added.
The Chief Minister also said three private hospitals had also been roped in to provide COVID-19 treatment in the state. Asked if the state government had received complaints of overpricing by the private hospital management, the Chief Minister said that no complaints of such nature had been received yet.
"Still we say that it (charges) should be controlled. We will call a meeting to ensure how this can be done," Sawant said.