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DEHRADUN: Patients availing of treatment at AIIMS Rishikesh are forced to shell out several times more for treatment — in some cases as much as 10 to 15 times in excess — than AIIMS Delhi, the institute on which the Rishikesh facility is modelled and which should be the benchmark for its rate card.
For instance, a normal child delivery is done free of cost at AIIMS Delhi’s general ward and for Rs 2,000 in its private ward. But in Rishikesh, it costs Rs 7,500. Similarly, knee replacement costs Rs 99,000 in AIIMS Rishikesh while in AIIMS Delhi, it is barely Rs 8,000 in the private ward. Cancer radiotherapy costs Rs 3,000 at AIIMS Delhi while in Rishikesh it starts from Rs 29,750.
A biopsy which is done for Rs 250 at AIIMS Delhi is being done for a staggering Rs 5,100 in Rishikesh.
The massive difference in rate, according to sources, has come about after a circular was issued by the institute’s administration on October 3 in which treatment costs of almost all the procedures were hiked substantially although the doctor consultation and admission fee remained unchanged.
The hospital caters to a number of patients from within the state as well as UP and NCR.
After the rate hike, the number of patients has dipped by around 30 to 40%, according to a source.
Protesting against the steep hike in rates and terming it a “planned move to benefit corporate hospitals so that more patients can go there”, Praveen Singh, a social activist from Delhi, began a hunger strike outside the institute on November 3. He demanded that the rates of AIIMS Delhi and AIIMS Rishikesh should be in tandem.
“The hike in rates has been done arbitrarily without proper approval from any finance committee. We found out that ameeting was simply conducted by the hospital administration in which it was decided that treatment rates would be revised. However, no clear guidelines were issued,” Singh told TOI.
When TOI contacted Harish Thapliyal, PRO of AIIMS Rishikesh, he attributed the hike in rates to the “sustainability drive that has been initiated by the Union finance ministry”.
He said, “All the six AIIMS units that were opened together will no longer receive assistance from the Centre’s Project Cell unit (a body that monitors progress of all new AIIMS) from March next year. We have been asked to sustain institutions ourselves so we had to resort to increase in rates. Otherwise, so far, we had been charging only Rs 35 per patient per day for simple as well as complex surgeries.” He said “a decision has been taken to roll back 75% of the cost and a meeting will be held on Sunday to finalise this and look at new ways for running the institution”.