Nagpur: Nagpur’s medical scene is going to be more poor friendly now, thanks to the state goverment who has decided to exempt patients living below poverty line (BPL) from paying charges for the tests.
In a first, all BPL patients will now get free MRI test at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). Also entire radiology test will be done free of cost. The facility will be provided by all GMCs across the state.
GMCH diagnostic department head Dr Aarti Anand told TOI, “About 15 days ago, we began implementation of the facility wherein BPL patients don’t have to pay anything for an MRI test. All other diagnostic tests are already being offered for free. Until now, the MRI test charges were uniform for all, regardless of income status.”
The Nagpur GMCH tests 30 to 40 patients for MRI every day. “Because of staff crunch, we are unable to taken in more patients. As GMCH is the only government centre to provide MRI facility, a lot of patients come here after being referred from other government hospitals and also Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital (IGGMCH).”
Union minister Nitin Gadkari has been pursuing the issue since September 2016. Initially, the NGO Pandit Deen Dayal Institute of Medical Science, Research and Human Resources wrote a letter to Gadkari on August 30, 2016.
NGO director Dr Viral Kamdar wrote in the letter, “At present, the cost of MRI ranges between Rs4,000 and Rs6,000 at private hospital. At GMCH even the BPL patients have to pay minimum Rs1,800, excluding the cost of contrast.”
Gadkari then wrote a letter to medical education minister Girish Mahajan.
“The number of patients reaching GMCH is increasing every year. They come from all over Vidarbha and adjacent states of Central India and cannot afford to pay money for MRI. There is a demand to start free MRI facility at GMCH for poor patients,” the letter said.
Taking cognisance, Mahajan, on March 18, 2017, decided to relieve all BPL persons across the state of MRI test charges at government medical colleges.
Recently, IGGMCH has also initiated the process of getting an MRI machine. Once the facility begins at IGGMCH, the decision will also be applicable to it.