Now, pay nominal fee for blood tests under ‘free’ scheme
The administration wants to bring in accountability in the scheme and a minimal fee on the check-ups is necessary. SENIOR BMC OFFICIAL
MUMBAI: Citizens who were hoping to get free blood check-ups under the upcoming Aapli Chikitsa scheme at peripheral hospitals and dispensaries will now have to shell out a certain fee for the tests.
In order to avoid the misuse of the scheme, which was going to offer free blood check-ups, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to impose a minimal fee for the check-ups.
Currently, all major civic hospitals offer free-of-cost diagnostic tests, however, patients at peripheral hospitals and dispensaries are referred to private labs where the cost of the tests are borne by the patient.
Earlier, the BMC, while introducing the scheme and making budget provisions for the expenditure, had proposed to outsource tests to private laboratories and provide 139 types of tests for free. However, the civic administration now wants to impose a fee for the tests.
A senior civic official, requesting anonymity, said, “The scheme can be easily misused as people will go for random check-ups that are not required. The administration wants to bring in accountability in the scheme and a minimal fee on the check-ups is necessary. However, the amount of fee to be imposed is yet to be decided.”
The civic body wants to introduce this scheme to reduce the burden on major civic hospitals, considering the number of tests conducted daily. HT had reported in November that the BMC had chosen two leading laboratories in the city to which peripheral hospitals and dispensaries can outsource the testing to. The BMC will be spending around ₹72 crore in the next four years to implement the scheme. The BMC has allocated ₹16 crore in the budget this year to implement the Aapli Chikitsa scheme.
Rais Saikh, Samajwadi Party leader, said, “The idea of the scheme is to give free check-ups. The BMC should first implement it, monitor if any misuse of the schemes is noticed and then decide to levy a minimal fee for the check-ups.”