No more concessions for above poverty line poor in GMC hospitals

Srinagar: Now, the poor not falling in the Below Poverty Line category would not be given financial concessions in expensive medical tests, such as MRI, at the Government Medical College-associated hospitals here.
Taking strict note of unnecessary referrals of patients for availing free medical facilities like MRI and CT scan, principal GMC Government Medical College has strictly asked the heads of various departments and medical superintendents to abstain from referring patients to avail free medical facilities without ascertaining their economic status.
Earlier government had issued guidelines to all the Head of departments /Head of units/Medical Superintendents of Associate hospitals of GMC to observe and follow certain guidelines while recommending investigation for free or on concession basis to the patients.
“We have issued clear and strict guidelines to all the heads of departments and medical superintendents to abstain from unchecked and unnecessary referrals of patients for availing medical facilities free of cost”, Dr Qaiser Ahmad Principal Medical College said while talking to this reporter. He further said that only the patients belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category would be provided free or concessional medical facility after they were referred and recommended by the concerned head of the department. “Head of the Concerned Unit must certify that the CT scanning /MRI is essentially required and the patient is unable to pay because of any of the following reason – the patient has had a road accident, has received fire arm injury or is a destitute. If such patients need an MRI or CT scan the officer on duty will certify and recommend free investigation and other medical facilities”, he said. “As per the stipulated procedure, a requisition slip from patient to avail free or concessional radio diagnosis facility  shall be attested by the medical superintendent of the hospital and referred to Head of the department of Radio-Diagnosis and Imaging for further necessary action”, he further added. He said that these restrictions would help ease the increasing burden of unnecessary and undue referrals.
Pertinently, as per the order issued by the Principal Govt Medical College Srinagar on 26th April, all ministers and bureaucrats are eligible for availing free medical treatment. “They (ministers and bureaucrats) are eligible for medical reimbursement. So they can apply for free/concessional medical investigation”, Dr. Qaiser said when asked about the reason for exemption of ministers and bureaucrats from the order.
The order issued by the government has added further to the voews of patients who find it difficult and cumbersome to fulfil the formalities to avail free or concessional medical treatment. Ishfaq Bashir, an attendant whose mother is admitted in ward 11 is looking for Head of Department Medicine for his recommendation to avail free MRI for his mother. To his disappointment he was told that the concerned doctor was not available as he had gone SK institute of Medical Science Soura, and as such there was no alternative for him but to wait. “Since morning I am doing rounds of the hospitals and waiting for the authorities to sign my documents .But no one seems to be bothered. I have emergency and now I have to wait for the doctor to come”, Ishfaq said.
A post graduate doctor wishing not to be named termed this order as yet another dictate from government and medical college to unnecessarily further the difficulties of the patients. “Sometimes we have to be very fast and the situation is demanding quick and prompt action even in the dead of the night. How come an attendant go for the standard procedure to get the necessary tests done in the hour of emergency?” he asked.