The Government has passed another one of their intelligent directives for Private Hospitals in the country. “ Private Hospitals will have to display treatment costs “. While all of us in the medical world immediately understood the futility behind such a brainless announcement, the piece below is an email I received in response to the same. It was just too good to pass up so I am borrowing it for my blog. The language has been edited to a certain extent for correctness.
Just imagine you enter one of the leading private hospitals of the city. You would be welcomed by a board. You always are greeted by a board displaying names of the Consultants at the Hospital, but this time it would be a board like this.
TROUBLE HOSPITALITY PVT LTD
Appendicectomy ( Served all week days during routine hours)
Rs 25,000 Gen ward, Rs 30,000 Twin Sharing, Rs 35, 000 for Single Room. So simple…… wait… wait …. With Vicryl Rs 400 extra,
Spinal anesthesia Rs 2000 (We use all Disposable spinal needles of BD company) General anesthesia 5000 extra;
Cautery: Indian cautery Rs 1000 extra, Allen Rs 2000 extra and Valley Lab Rs 3000 extra.
Drain: Corrugated Rubber Drain Rs 25 extra; Tube drain Rs 100 and Romovac Rs 250
Dressing: Indian dressing white color leucoplast Rs 10, Pink Rs 15, Micropore Rs 20 Mepore and Tegaderm would be 25% handling charges above actual.
Daily round: First Visit Rs 500 Second Visit Rs 300 (that is if I come on my Bike) Rs 400 if I come in my car.
Few stars at the most unnoticeable corners: Conditions apply OR … under general ward conditions (under Test conditions). Actual bill may not come DOWN to the bill under test conditions
Lap Appendicectomy: Rs 35,000 Gen ward, Rs 45,000 Twin Sharing, Rs 55,000 Single Room, Rs 65,000 Deluxe, Rs 75,000 for the Suite
Cautery: Bipolar would be Rs 3000 extra, with Harmonic would be Rs 8000 extra.
Two port appendicectomy would be Rs 5000 extra, Single port would be Rs 10000 extra and Natural orifice would be Rs 15000 extra. Those who wish to get more details of our today’s speciality NOTES surgery may please contact our staff; on the TOLL NOT FREE number.
In my college days, we studied that there are 69,788 illnesses and pathological conditions precisely that can afflict the human body.
So, I can imagine that if such rate list were to be put for display, they would cover almost all the walls of the hospitals available on the inside of the premises ( as the exteriors are reserved for the Morcha calls of various parties, federations, social disorganizations, shelter for the homeless etc etc). This would be part of the hospitals CSR strategy.
Coming back to all seriousness. There is a case for letting the patients know the cost of what they are getting into and there must be a way to get it done but mindless directives are not going to help. How about getting insurance providers to put a REASONABLE fix on the prices of surgery and then not backing away from settling when the time comes. The insurance companies had tried to fix a rate on common surgeries but they're rates were so ridiculous that it would't even cover the basic charges in most nursing homes.
The only suitable solution and one that would require a mammoth effort from us, the doctors, is that if we devise package rates for our procedures and stick to them irrespective of who comes in for treatment. Declare it to the patient during the consultation phase itself and then don't fear of them going elsewhere for treatment. If they can afford you, they will come back, else let them go and don't crib!
I'd love to hear comments from other Doctors and of course the views of the general public for whom this is being done.
Write your comments below!