The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has carried out a pilot study to justify its proposal to not charge patients for diagnostic procedures such as blood tests and X-rays that cost less than Rs 500, PTI reported on Thursday.
Instead, the committee suggested that the hospital can raise the charges for private wards, which are reportedly cheaper than semi-private ward charges in corporate hospitals, to Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per day.
The study was carried out by a committee headed by Dr Anoop Saraya of the gastroenterology department.
The authors of the study suggested that eliminating these charges would ensure that patients who travel from far do not suffer financial losses. A patient from Delhi pays about Rs 1,900 during every visit, while those from outside the capital pay Rs 4,300, the committee said.
The panel surveyed 456 patients – 234 Delhi residents and 222 outsiders – at the hospital’s out-patient department. Most of them had to make multiple visits to access medical reports, leading to harassment and financial losses that the study said could be avoided.
Last month, the Union Health Ministry had asked the medical institute to review and revise its user charges that have remained unchanged in the last 20 years.