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If your medical test costs less than Rs 500, it will soon be free at AIIMS

AIIMS has capped at Rs 500 the fee for several tests that cost 10 times more in a private lab or hospital.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 07:12 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
All India Institute of Medical Sciences,AIIMS,Medical Tests
AIIMS Delhi(HT File Photo)

Patients visiting city’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will not have to pay for blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound scans and similar diagnostic procedures in the coming days.

The country’s premier state-run institute, which caters to patients from Delhi and across the country, also plans to do away with admission and out-patient registration charge.

“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 cost 10 times more in a private lab or hospital. All such tests will be free once the decision is implemented, which is expected to kick within a few weeks.

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.

The hospital earns Rs 101 crore annually from registration charges, admission fee and diagnostics tests.

Collecting these charges, which are highly subsidised, cost the hospital “significantly more” than the revenue generated, officials in the AIIMS’s finance department said.

The low-cost of tests and treatment is also one of the reasons AIIMS sees a rush of patients who can’t afford private hospitals.

To make up for the loss, the hospital plans to increase the private room charge, which is around Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000 a 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 Rs 500, AIIMS will still be cheaper than private hospitals where such a room can cost anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000.

Same for the tests.

An X-ray costs as little as Rs 30 and can go up to Rs 300, depending on the body part, at AIIMs. Private labs and hospitals charge anywhere between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000.

The move to do away with 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.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 07:11 IST