State Government to Look Into Testing Labs Overcharging for HRCT Scanning

State Government to Look Into Testing Labs Overcharging for HRCT Scanning

The Maharashtra State Government has set up a committee to look into concerns of labs overcharging patients for high-resolution computed tomography or HRCT. This test/scan is conducted on some COVID-19 patients, especially if the doctors are trying to establish a severe lung condition. This comes as the government has received several complaints from the citizens on the matter.

Currently, a single HRCT scan is supposed to cost ₹4,000 while it can go all the way up to ₹10,000 at private hospitals. These tests are mostly conducted at MRI and CT scanning facilities. 

Dr Sudhakar Shinde who heads the newly set up committee said - “We received several complaints regarding overpricing. Like for COVID tests and hospital bed rates, we decided to fix a price cap for this test.”

HRCT scans are more widely used now since doctors are using this method on suspected COVID-19 cases, especially when a patient tests negative for the virus yet has all the commonly known symptoms. With the state’s cases seeing a rise over the past month or so, the number of HRCT tests has expectedly gone up. 

The concern about overcharging patients is pertinent because we’ve seen multiple hospitals routinely engaged in this behaviour over the past few months. However, to state and civic body’s credit, officials took up the mantle of ensuring that overcharged patients are refunded by the violating hospitals.

Also Read - KDMC Refunds Up To 51% Of The Excess Amount Charged By Hospitals To COVID-19 Patients

Members of the newly formed committee said that it will take some days to cap pricing for HRCT scans. Health officials have separately said that they will include commonly conducted tests in the list of outsourced tests so as to reduce costs on patients. Presently, the State is outsourcing tests to HLL Life Care Ltd. 

Additionally, The authorities are reportedly mulling the outsourcing of D-Dimer testing to private labs. It is said that patients are being asked to pay for these tests in government hospitals that don’t have the equipment available. 

  The coronavirus pandemic has opened a pandora’s box of concerns for the authorities, and the fact that patients are being overcharged frequently is something that needs serious introspection from the state and civic officials.

Also read - Coronavirus: BMC To Ramp Up Testing In The City