Hyderabad: The Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) charges private hospitals Rs 3,500 for the conduction of a single swine flu test, but the hospitals charge patients between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000.
At government hospitals, the test is carried out free of cost. A senior officer from the IPM said, “IPM carries out the most testing; over 50 samples are received per day. The high cost is to ensure that no panic testing is carried out and that diagnosis is based on a thorough clinical evaluation. The price is meant to act as a deterrent to private hospitals.”
The government has asked private hospitals to charge patients only Rs 3,500 for the test, but district-level health officials say that the charges are being inflated.
A senior health officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “We have to counsel family members and meet patients suffering from swine flu. During the counselling, when we ask them about how much they are being charged, they usually only tell us about the money that they have paid in advance. We have to ask them to list out the charges individually to figure out how much the hospitals are actually charging.”
The officers say that most patients are not aware of the charges being imposed on them. Under the fear of having contracted swine flu, many patients are keen on having the tests carried out, costs notwithstanding. District medical and health officials in Ranga Reddy district and Hyderabad have warned hospitals that action will be initiated against them in the event of extra charges being imposed on patients....