AIIMS to abolish charges on diagnostic procedures costing below Rs 500
New Delhi: The country's premier medical institute is planning to do away with charges on diagnostic procedures like blood tests, ultrasound and X-rays, among others which cost less than Rs 500.
A committee headed by Dr Anoop Saraya, HOD of Gastroenterology at AIIMS, constituted to review the user fee charges at the hospital have submitted its report in this regard.
The committee has recommended that private ward charges should be increased to Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per day to make up for the loss as their rates are cheaper than semi-private ward charges in corporate hospitals that can be accessed by Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) employees.
"It is recommended that charges on low cost investigations/interventions (below Rs 500 per test) should be eliminated," Saraya said in his report.
"We are planning to remove user charges for tests and procedures which cost less than Rs 500," a senior AIIMS official said.
As far as increasing the rates of the tests on the basis of income is concerned, the committee said there are challenges of means testing and errors of inclusion and exclusion associated with identifying the economically weaker sections of society, and recommended that a differential fee arrangement should not implemented.
"As a result it would be very difficult to provide equitable services to all economic sections of the society through a differential fee arrangement.
"Out-of-pocket payment at the point of care is the most important reason why health care expenses turn catastrophic for all health care users," the committee said in its report.
Around 10,000 people visit the out-patient department every day and at any given time, more than 2,000 patients are admitted to the hospital.
AIIMS currently generates Rs 101 crore from user charges which include OPD charges, diagnostic tests in various departments, radiology charges, in-patient care and room rentals.
The cost of many routine tests at AIIMS is Rs 10 to Rs 25.