Data collated by state public health department has indicated a dip in the prices of common medical surgeries like angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery, which witnessed a decline of 18 and 44 per cent respectively in the city over the last three years.
The data, gathered from Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, suggest that apart from dialysis, which has observed a slight hike in prices, prices of surgeries like angioplasty, coronary bypass surgery, lithotripsy for urinary stones and long bone fracture, have seen a decline in the average market cost in medium and expensive-range private hospitals.
As per the data, the cost of coronary bypass surgery reduced in the city from Rs 3.87 lakh to Rs 2.15 lakh between 2011 and 2014, while angioplasty reduced from Rs 2.2 lakh to Rs 1.8 lakh.
In Pune, the cost of angioplasty has dropped by 15 per cent, from Rs 1.9 lakh to Rs 1.6 lakh between 2011 and now. In Nagpur, angioplasty cost has declined by 42 per cent to Rs 1.25 lakh in the same period.
According to experts, a major reason for the decline is reduction in cost of supplies by manufacturers. Dr N O Bansal, head of cardiology at J J hospital, said, “The Central government health scheme introduced a circular recently saying prices of stent used for angioplasty have been reduced. This has helped in reducing overall cost of angioplasty packages.”
Dr Tarang Gianchandani, chief operating officer at Jaslok hospital, said, “The premium cost have not reduced much but economical packages have come down. Reduced cost of supplies is one of the reasons.”
Hospitals mushrooming all over the state is another reason for reduction in cost of several surgeries. Dr Prashant Mishra, cardio-vascular surgeon at civic-run KEM hospital, said, “Ten years ago, there were very few hospitals doing heart surgeries. Now with small hospitals providing such surgeries, the competition has reduced the overall cost of packages in all hospitals.”
Mishra, however, also accepted that the launch of the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) – a scheme to provide free medical surgeries to yellow and orange card holders (below-poverty-line and above-poverty-line section) forced medium-category hospitals to opt for cost reduction.
Since RGJAY was launched in 2011, the poor section has an alternate mode of accessing medical relief in the city. As a result, medium category hospitals have to reduce their surgery cost to attract them.
While in 2011, the scheme served eight districts, last year it was expanded to 27 other districts in the state, including Nagpur and Pune.
Meeta Lochan, state public health secretary, said Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur bear around 60-70 per cent of RGJAY’s volume and a significant decline in surgeries in private hospitals was seen in these cities.
“With RGJAY, the large demand has affected the market economies and suppliers have been forced to reduce cost as bulk orders are placed.
The reason why cost of surgeries in private hospitals have come down is because the scheme has indirectly lowered down cost from the supplier’s end,” said Lochan.