‘Narayana Hospital goes against expectations’Charges heavily on poor pockets in name of discount

Pardeep Singh Bali
T he Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Hospital- Kakriyal Katra, which was expected to alleviate the miseries of the poor and needy population of Jammu, is allegedly charging heavily from the poor patients in the name of discount.
According to patients, the huge hype made by the hospital of providing world class facilities at discounted prices, has turned hoax, as in the name of discounts, the hospital authorities are fleecing huge money.
“I had come to hospital for treatment of cancer, as it was claimed that the hospital provides cancer treatment at cheap rates and that too at door step,” said cancer patient, pleading not to be named.
The patient further said that the hospital has asked him Rs 3 to 4 lakh so far, “Which is too costly, as compared to the charges of other private hospital,” patient said. He, however, said that the hospital was established in association with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and it was responsibility of the shrine board to check the cost of treatment, before brining this institute.
“If the hospital is semi government, then the rates must also be charged as per government system, but here the case is different and in the name of discount, the patients are charged arbitrarily,” said patient.
Another patient from Reasi said that he had come to hospital for cancer treatment, but after seeing the rate list, he preferred to move out. “If this hospital is charging like a private hospital, I would prefer to move out to the PGI Chandigarh or AIIMS New Delhi for specialized treatment,” patient said. He, however, said that the hospital has world class infrastructure and advanced equipment, but dearth of doctors and over charging are the issues, as poor cannot pay too much and proper team of doctors can take care of emergency. “The hospital must entail some policy and scheme for BPL category, so that along with ease in access, this hospital becomes poor friendly,” said patient. Meanwhile, talking to Newspoint, senior officer of the Naryana Hospital said that as the hospital is in inaugural phase, they have no policy or scheme for anyone, including BPL patients.
“We do not have any policy for BPL patients, but the hospital is providing huge discount to all patients,” said official, adding “At present we are offering 50-70 percent discount on surgeries, clinical tests are done at discounted rates, beside free OPD.”
When asked about hefty charges, the official said that the administration of the hospital can best answer the query as he is not entitled to talk about administrative part. Moreover, he also denied sharing contact number of administrative officer, saying he is not authorized to share detail. Pertinent to mention here the 230 bedded super specialty hospital was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kakriyal near Katra to push the medical and health sector. The Prime Minister was briefed about the hospital providing 24X7 emergency services, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, ambulance, cancer screening buses and a full-fledged bone marrow transplant facility.
The Governor informed the Prime Minister about the shrine board’s policy to provide concessional medical treatment to some categories of patients at the hospital. The categories include Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrims who require any medical intervention. In the case of any pre-existing ailments, free of cost treatment will be provided to the patient till he or she stabilises.
Residents of four adjoining Sira, Kakryal, Kotla and Sool villages (including land owners who have given their land for the establishment of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and the hospital) will be given free of cost OPD treatment. Aged, poor, needy and the destitute, who require treatment, will be provided medicare free of charge.
A separate policy for provision of immediate and gratuitous relief (by way of medical treatment) has been approved as a goodwill measure for the locals living farther away from the neighbouring villages. A provision has also been made to provide free services to such poor and needy people. When tried to contact Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Ajeet Kumar Sahu, he was unavailable for comments.

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