BMC head office
BMC head office

Mumbai: Patients seeking treatment at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) run hospitals will now have to pay more as the civic body has decided to hike hospital fees.

Non-residents of Mumbai will be charged even more than residents under the proposed hike. The civic health department on Monday submitted a proposal to the administration to revise medical service rates by 20% for residents and by 30% for people who come from outside the city.

According to civic officials, the decision on the revised charges will come within a month following which the hike will be implemented across civic-run hospitals.

The civic body is awaiting the standing committee's nod. As per the proposal, rates will be hiked in all 16 BMC-run main and peripheral hospitals across the city.

The civic body proposes to increase the overall cost for patients in its hospitals by 20 per cent (especially cost of tests like MRI and CT scan), citing a huge difference between expenditure and revenue earned.

Civic run hospitals like Lokmanya Tilak General Hospital (Sion) hospital, King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospitals and BYL Nair see a huge inflow of patients on a daily basis.

On average, every day around 10,000 patients visit KEM Hospital, 9,000 visit Sion Hospital and over 3,000 patients visit KEM Hospital to avail various medical service. The hospitals provide all treatments from OPD to critical surgery. The services are provided at nominal charges.

The BMC has not increased the rates of these services since 2000. In 2017, a similar proposal was tabled to revise the hike owing to the huge difference between expenditure and revenue earned.

Due to this, the expenditure burden on the municipal corporation is increasing by each day. Therefore, the BMC has no choice but to increase the charges for patients, an official said.

BMC can raise up to 50 per cent charges compared to state-run hospitals. However, considering the financial background of patients who visit the civic hospitals, the health committee has proposed to increase the rates by only 20 per cent.

According to the civic health department, in 2016-17, the BMC observed in its budget that nearly 30-35 per cent of the patients treated in the civic-run hospitals come from outside Mumbai the number has increased in 2019. However, the civic body receives hardly 6-7 per cent of the total spending on healthcare facilities.

The last hike in hospital rates was in 2000, following which the rates have remained stagnant even though the cost of healthcare has increased, civic officials said.

"Even after this hike, it will remain nominal as compared to private hospitals. Also, revenue earned from health care will be invested in strengthing the health services further," said a senior official.

However, the public representatives in the civic body have indicated that they will not accept any hike in the cost of medical services for Mumbaikars.

"The charges for health services will be increased by 30 per cent only for the patients coming from outside Mumbai.

The charges will remain the same for patients of Mumbai. If any such proposal to hike the cost of medical services for Mumbaikars is tabled will reject it," said Amey Gole, Chairman of Health Committee in BMC."

On average, the corporation spends Rs 300 to 500 on each patient coming to the OPD and Rs 3,000 on the patient admitted to the hospital for treatment. The municipality was spending Rs. 3,300 crore a year on the health system.

This year the budget expenditure has been increased by 10 per cent and the provision of expenditure on health system has been increased to Rs 3,800 crore. The municipality is striving to provide quality health services to the patients.

As per proposed hike, charges for different services from OPD will also rise. At present, BMC is charging Rs10 for patient's case paper which will now increase to Rs 12-15. Rs250-500 for minor surgeries, and Rs1,000 for major surgeries. The charges for services like case paper, X-Ray, ECG etc. will be increased too.

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Free Press Journal