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No headway in AIIMS move on waiver of selected user charges

NEW DELHI: The proposal by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to do away with user charges on diagnostic procedures like blood tests and X-rays, which cost less than Rs 500 will take more time to become a reality.
While the institute has conducted a pilot study to justify its proposal and submitted the same to the health ministry, the administration has now sought details of the user fees charged for each test from each department.
According to a source at AIIMS, the proposal has been submitted to Union Health Minister JP Nadda but there has been no development on it.
On directives from the Finance Ministry, the Health Ministry had repeatedly asked the hospital to review and revise user charges unchanged in the past 20 years. The cost of many routine tests ranges between Rs 10 and Rs 25.
A committee headed by Dr Anoop Saraya, head of the Department of Gastroenterology at the AIIMS was constituted to review the user fee charges at the hospital and had submitted its report.
The committee recommended that private ward charges should be increased to Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per day to make up for the loss as their rates are cheaper as compared to that of semi-private ward charges in corporate hospitals that can be accessed by Central Government Health Scheme beneficiaries.
"It is recommended that charges on low-cost investigations or interventions (below Rs 500 per test) be eliminated," Saraya said in his report.
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