AIIMS conducts pilot study to justify proposal
New Delhi: The AIIMS, which plans to do away with user charges on diagnostic procedures, like blood tests and X-rays, costing less than Rs 500, has conducted a pilot study to justify its proposal. The study comes in the wake of the Union Health Ministry prodding the premier medical institute to furnish information about reviewing user charges which have not been changed in the last 20 years.
The pilot study revealed that the patients had to spend a substantial amount in the form of cost for travel from the point of residence, cost of food and lodging for self and attendants and loss of income for the patients as well as for the attendants.
The study also stated that the patients encountered long queues for dates for prescribed investigations, for the payment of user charges and then for the investigations on the scheduled days. According to the study, a patient from Delhi has to shell out Rs 1,900 on every visit to the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences while those from outside the national capital on an average spend Rs 4,300 per visit. The study was conducted among 456 patients who visited the out-patient department of the hospital, out of which 234 were residents of Delhi while 222 were outsiders.
More than 95 per cent of the patients were accompanied by attendants and more than 25 per cent of the patients were accompanied by two or more attendants.
The patients had to make a payment often in different building, register for the test in another building and get the sampling or test done. Sometimes they have to collect the reports as well.
The time delay adds to indirect costs like wage loss to the patients and their caregivers, room rentals and transport costs, making the provision of health care costlier for the patients as well as the state. "It is recommended that charges on low cost investigations like blood tests, X-rays, CT etc (below Rs 500 per test) should be eliminated to cut down on book-keeping costs, cost to patients and patient harassment," it said.