Patients to pay for all tests in GMC, Associated Hospitals

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, Jan 31: What was the matter of apprehension, has turned out to be a shocking reality as the Government Medical College today revised rates of the diagnostic tests in the GMC and Associated Hospital affecting a steep hike in the charges from the patients besides bringing all tests under paid category.
Now all the patients, including indoor patients as well as those admitted in the emergency of GMC and Associated Hospitals, will have to pay for all investigations under Radiology, Biochemistry, Haematology and Microbiology.
Even the routine tests such as blood sugar, Hb, urine routine examination, grouping, stool examination  etc have been brought under paid category thus affecting poor patients for whom the Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals  are no more a succor.
The controversial order on rate revision has come amidst Government move on Public-Private Partnership mode in the Government Medical College and    Super Specialty Hospital Jammu.
As per the order, issued by Purchase Committee of Government Medical College and Associated Hospitals Jammu, the user charges of more than one hundred diagnostic tests in GMC and Associated Hospitals are re-fixed with immediate effect.
Except a few, all these tests were earlier conducted free of cost in the GMC Jammu and Associated Hospitals and even the outdoor patients visiting there were being benefited by these.
However, following the issuance of new circular, the patients admitted in general wards as well as those in the emergency will also have to pay for any test whatever may be the circumstances.
The re-fixation of charges for the tests ranges from Rs 10 to Rs 3000. As per the circular, ABO Grouping will now cost Rs 25, LFT -Rs 100, Thyroid profile – Rs 300, Hb-Rs 20, RBC count-Rs 20, TLC-Rs 20,  Urine routine examination-Rs 30, Sugar-Rs 10, Culture Sensitive (Anaerobic)-Rs 150, Pregnancy-Rs 50,  PCR (TB/Hepatitis B/HIV)-Rs 800 each, TORCH-Rs 600, Hepatitis Profile Elisa-150, water testing -Rs 250, Stool examination-Rs 30, Stool examination for occult blood-Rs 50, Sputum for    malignant Cell-Rs 100, Bone marrow aspiration-Rs 200, Cell count-Rs 40, Immunohisto-chemistry-Rs 800 each, CT Coronary Angiograpgy-Rs 300, etc.
There are allegations that user charges are being imposed for diagnostic tests from all the patients in OPD, emergency and indoor to facilitate the private parties, which have been introduced in GMC under PPP mode.
When contacted, the Minister for Medical Education, Taj Mohi-ud-Din confirmed that the patients now will have to pay for all diagnostic tests in GMC Jammu and Associated Hospitals. The Government had no option other than to charge from the patients as the GMC Jammu and Associated Hospital  are running short of the funds for Regent and other raw material for conducting diagnostic tests, he explained adding that user charges for patients were very nominal, affordable and very low as compared to market rates.
However, the Minister admitted that no money should be charged from the patients in emergency and he would issue necessary order in this regard tomorrow. As far as indoor patients are concerned, GMC Jammu has been brought at par with GMC Kashmir where user charges are taken from the admitted patients also, Taj said.
Justifying his stand on PPP mode, the Minister sought to clarify that private players will not be allowed to conduct routine diagnostic test but only those, which involve costly analyzers and regents.