AIIMS, Delhi, asked to draft user fee chart to be replicated in all such institutes

Payal Banerjee

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The Health Ministry has asked AIIMS, New Delhi, to review the user fees for its patients and prepare a model rate-chart which can be replicated in all six such premier institutes across the country so as to bring uniformity in their user charges.

According to a senior health ministry official, the Central Institute Body (CIB) of the six AIIMS, including the one in Delhi, headed by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has decided to review the tuition fees of students and also fix an uniform user charge on various diagnostic procedures like blood tests and X-rays.

On being asked by the Centre to undertake the exercise, the AIIMS, New Delhi, administration has directed all its departments, sections, wings and facilities to submit the details of charges levied in a particular format which details the description of services, the current cost amount and the reasons for setting user charges lower than the current cost, the official said.

On the directions of the Finance Ministry, the Health Ministry had asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences multiple times in the past to review and revise its user charges, which have not been changed in the last 20 years.

'In pursuance to the directions of the Government of India (Ministries of Finance and Health) the AIIMS, New Delhi, is required to review all fees and users charges of the institute,' an office memorandum read.

AIIMS currently generates Rs 101 crores from user charges, which include OPD charges, diagnostic tests in various departments, radiology charges, in-patient care and room rentals.

Citing Rule 47 of General Financial Rules, 2017, the memorandum stated, that user charges is an important component of non-tax revenues of the institute and each ministry/department should undertake an exercise to identify the user fees levied by it and publish the same on the website.

While fixing the rates of user charges, the ministries/departments must ensure that the user fees recover the current cost of providing services with reasonable return on capital investment, it stated, adding any deviation from these principles shall be specifically recorded with reasons justifying the setting of user charges lower than the cost recovery norms, if any.

'The rates of user charges should be linked with appropriate price indices and reviewed at least every three years. In order to enable ease of revision of user charges, the rate of user fees shall be fixed, wherever possible, through rules or executive orders and not through a statue,' the memorandum mentions.

The departments concerned have been asked send the details by November 25.

Another government official said the AIIMS demands for additional allocation amounting to over Rs 300 crore in non-plan expenditures, including for consumable, maintenance and salaries, among others which are of recurring nature. There are huge deviations between budget estimates and revised estimates, he said.

The user charges have not been revised since 1996, the official said.

An internal committee, constituted in 2017 to review the user charges at the hospital, had recommended against charging money for tests and procedures which cost less than Rs 500 at the institute. It had suggested that private ward charges at the AIIMS should be increased to make up for the loss as their rates are less than semi-private wards in corporate hospitals that can be accessed by people under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). PTI PLB PLB NSD NSD