To encourage people for Covid testing and to check profiteering by private laboratories, the Punjab government has capped Covid test rates for private laboratories.
The laboratories have also been instructed to display rates in a visible manner.
Giving details in a press release, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the state government, in exercise of the powers bestowed under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (COVID-19 Regulations 2020), directed that no private laboratory should charge any amount more than Rs 1,600 for RT-PCR test for Covid, inclusive of GST/taxes, documentation and reporting.
Earlier, the Punjab government had capped the RT-PCR testing by private laboratories at Rs 2,400, bringing it down from Rs 4,500 charged initially.
Sidhu said that for TrueNat Test for Covid, no private laboratory should charge any amount more than Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,400 fixed for CBNaat test, inclusive of GST/taxes, documentation and reporting in the state of Punjab.
Sidhu clarified that any additional cost for home collection of samples is to be fixed by individual laboratory. “But the laboratory shall adhere to the guidelines issued by Punjab government,” he added. He said that all the testing protocols as laid down by ICMR and the Government of India and the state government from time to time shall strictly be followed by the private laboratories. The private laboratories shall share the data pertaining to the results of tests for Covid with state government and uploaded on ICMR portal on a timely basis.
“At the time of sampling, the identification, address and verified mobile number of the person, who is being tested, must be noted for record, as per sample referral form (SRF),” he added.
He said that the data should be uploaded on the RT-PCR app at the time of taking the sample. “The test report should be communicated to the patient immediately after the testing is complete and all test results should be immediately communicated to the Civil Surgeon of the district concerned through e-mail with a copy to state IDSP cell of Punjab,” he added.
“All the private NABL- and ICMR-approved laboratories are instructed that information of the patient should be maintained with utmost confidentiality. All the private Covid testing laboratories must preserve the RT-PCR machine-generated data and graphs for future verification by the state government,” Sidhu added
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