Now, pay nom­i­nal fee for blood tests un­der ‘free’ scheme

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Sa­gar Pil­lai

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.”

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