To make treatment more accessible for patients in general wards,AIIMS authorities have decided to slash rates for procedures in the Cardiothoracic Centre. In its latest meeting,the institutes Standing Finance Committee (SFC),approved reductions ranging from 10 to 65 per cent. These are likely to be implemented in a months time.
While patients will continue to be charged for external devices like stents,filters and pacemakers,rates of procedures have been reduced.
As per the minutes of the SFCs May 28 meeting (Newsline has a copy),rates of surgical procedures which will see a substantial drop include coronary bypass graft surgery,valve replacements,angioplasty,angiography and cardiac radiological procedures. General ward rates are applicable to all patients who do not have BPL cards and are not admitted in private VIP wards.
Sources at the institute confirmed that if the change proves feasible,the decision will be replicated in all superspecialty departments which follow a similar package system,including neurology and neurosurgery.
A senior administrative official said,The approved decision of the SFC has just been sent to the Finance section. It will take about two weeks to complete procedural formalities. The revised charges should be implemented in a month. He said the charges will remain the same for patients admitted to private wards. Making treatment free of cost was not proving to be feasible. We are trying to see if reducing package charges for general category patients in the CT centre and not changing charges for VIP patients will work, the official said.
As per the minutes of the SFC meeting,Dr Balram Airan,chief of Cardiothoracic Centre,told the committee members that based on last years analysis,additional funds of Rs 40 crore would be required to make cardiothoracic procedures free of cost. Dr Airan also pointed out that if treatment was made completely free,the number of patients would increase exceptionally and,consequently,waiting time and funds requirement would also increase proportionately.
Based on these conjectures,committee members said reducing rates was more feasible than making treatment free of cost. Cardiothoracic Centre authorities had then put forward revised rates,where packages of commonly conducted procedures were cut down for general ward patients. To address the revenue gap,there was a simultaneous,marginal increase in costs for other procedures.
But the SFC has given the go ahead only for reduction in costs,directing that there would be no increase in charges of any procedures for general category patients.
From November 2010,both the SFC and the AIIMS governing body had reiterated in their respective meetings that treatment costs in private wards should be revised,so that revenue generated could make treatment in general wards free to the extent possible.