The Punjab government has increased user charges for more than 200 hospital services. The charges have been hiked by 50% to 600% for various services.
Hussan Lal, managing director of Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC), on Thursday sent a communication in this regard to all civil surgeons of the state. The charges have been revised for the first time in the past more than one decade. According to the PHSC, the charges were earlier revised in 2001.
Some of the common services for which the charges have been increased include patient registration, admission to hospital, medico-legal examination, diagnostic facilities and surgeries.
The outdoor patient department (OPD) registration fee, which was Rs. 2 for many years, has been hiked to Rs. 5 (see table). Admission charges are up from Rs. 10 to Rs. 25 and general ward bed charges from Rs. 5 to 30 per day. X-ray charges have been increased from Rs. 40 to Rs. 70.
The communication said treatment will be free of cost for people having below poverty line (BPL) cards, Punjab government employees, Punjab and Haryana high court, ex-servicemen, freedom fighters, undertrials and convicts.
Treatment will also be free for all emergencies arising out of road accidents, man-made and natural disasters. Diagnostic and treatment facilities for pregnant women and neonatal children will also be free.
"The revision was overdue. The government had formed a committee to examine user charges of various medical colleges, including state medical colleges, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 (GMCH-32), Chandigarh, and the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh," said Hussan Lal.
"It is a reasonable revision of charges, made as per recommendations of the committee," he added.
Despite repeated attempts, health minister Madan Mohan Mittal could not be contacted for comment. Dr Gurinder Kaur Brar, director, PHSC, said the charges were still on the lower side, even though the cost of equipment used in various services was quite high.
Shivram Saroay, president of Ludhiana-based Rogi Kalyan Samiti and Ann Jal Sewa Trust, said the government should justify the revised charges by providing best facilities to patients.
With inputs from Harshraj Singh, Ludhiana
Service Charges (Rs)
Registration fee 2 5
Admission charges 10 25
General ward bed per day 5 30
Minor surgery 50 100
Major surgery 375 750
Medico-legal examination 50 200
X-ray 40 70
ECG 25 40