For patients going to city’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound scans and other diagnostic procedures will be free in the near future.
The country’s premier state-run institute, which treats patients from Delhi and across the country, also plans to discontinue with admission and out-patient registration charges.
“We realised that charges for several tests and procedures at AIIMS were minimal and generated nominal revenue. So, we have proposed to remove user charges for any test or procedure costing less than Rs 500,” director Randeep Guleria told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
AIIMS has capped at Rs 500 the fee for several tests that are almost 10 times more expensive in private labs and hospitals. All such tests will become free once the decision is implemented, which is expected to be initiated within a few weeks.
Around 10,000 people visit the out-patient department every day and at any moment, more than 2,000 patients are admitted to the hospital.
The hospital earns Rs 101 crore per year from these charges which include registration charges, admission fee and diagnostics tests.
The process of gathering these charges, which are highly subsidised, was more expensive than the than the revenue generated, officials in the AIIMS’s finance department said.
The cost of tests and treatment in AIIMS is also cheap which is one of the reasons there are a lot of patients visiting AIIMS for whom treatment at private hospitals is an expensive affair.
|To compensate for the loss, the hospital is planning to increase the private room charges, which is around Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 per day.|
“We will cross-subsidise the treatment of the poor patients by increasing the cost of the private wards minimally, may be by Rs 200 to Rs 500. In fact, this way the hospital will also generate more revenue,” Guleria said. The hospital has 266 private rooms.
Even if the charge goes up by only Rs 500, AIIMS will still be more inexpensive as compared to private hospitals where such a room can cost anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000.
The tests too would be cheaper.
In AIIMS an X-ray costs as little as Rs 30 and can go up to Rs 300, depending on the body part whereas Private labs and hospitals charge between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000 which are quite expensive.
The move to remove the user charge will also make it easier for patients to get tests done.
“Usually patients have to queue up to pay for a procedure and then queue up for the actual procedure. This can be daunting for patients, especially those travelling from other parts of the country and coming to the hospital for the first time,” Guleria said.