85% of Delhiites want costs of diagnostic, other tests capped, says study

Survey conducted after govt’s draft norm announcement earlier for hospitals with the objective to reduce cost of healthcare

June 27, 2018 01:44 am | Updated 01:44 am IST - NEW DELHI

A study has revealed that 85% Delhiites want the costs of diagnostic and other tests recommended by hospitals to be capped and nearly 60% want the outpatient department charges capped at ₹600, said a release issued by a citizen engagement organisation.

LocalCircles carried out a study on what citizens want and the challenges faced by them with respect to healthcare in the Capital. The survey was conducted following the Delhi government’s draft norm announcement earlier this year for city hospitals with the objective to reduce the cost of healthcare.

“Private hospitals have replaced government hospitals in Delhi. The scenario in the Capital is quite unique as many of these private hospitals have taken the benefit of free land and income tax exemptions directly or by acquiring trust-run hospitals,” noted the release.

Medical negligence

LocalCircles noted that multiple cases of profiteering and negligence have been reported against hospitals in Delhi in the last 12 months. Nearly 12,000 residents from every district of Delhi were polled as part of the survey.

“To address these issues, the Delhi government recently came out with a draft policy aimed at capping profits made by private hospitals. LocalCircles carried out a survey to see if residents of Delhi were in support of these rules and also to highlight issues pertaining to the working of private hospitals,” the release said.

Cases of patients being overcharged by private hospitals here have become quite common.

Despite multiple complaints by patients, they end up paying whatever the hospital asks them to, noted the survey.

Markups on drugs

To a question on whether limiting private hospital markups on drugs/ consumables to 50% above procurement price would reduce profiteering, 54% replied in the affirmative, 27% did not agree and 19% were unsure.

On whether mandatory declarations by hospitals in the bill regarding no cuts and commissions paid would help reduce this menace, 54% felt it would while 44% did not think so.

Also, 73% Delhiites said the consent of either the patient or his/her family members should be mandatory before private hospitals engages experts on the case, while 15% felt the patient may not know enough to make the right decision and 6% thought it might lead to unnecessary delays.

The remaining 6% were unsure about their choice.

‘Expensive resources’

“Most private hospitals engage specialists to treat patients. These specialists are expensive resources and each visit is billed at nearly ₹5,000, with multiple visits made daily. Sometimes specialists are involved when they are not even required and without the consent of the patients or their attendants,” stated the study.

On capping of prices of common medical tests at private hospitals, 85% of the respondents thought it was a good idea while just 10% disagreed with them, said the release.

LocalCircles noted the survey showed that Delhiites support the government’s policy but at the same time they want some basic challenges to be addressed.

“Making rules is one thing but enforcing them is another. The intentions of the government seem good in theory and if the rules are enforced properly, patients will be in a much better situation,” noted the survey.

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