Patients to be made aware of treatment costs

All patients receiving free treatment from State-run hospitals would be issued a bill, from next year, to make them aware of what it costs the government to treat them, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday.

He pointed out that the government had allocated Rs. 110 billion for health expenditure in the current year and in addition some organisations had provided eight billion rupees to the sector in 2012. Expensive medical investigations, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomography Scan (CT Scan) and X-ray, were being done in the public sector hospitals free of charge, but patients had to pay a large sums of money if those tests were done at private hospitals.

Neither the patients nor their relatives and family members were aware of the substantial sums of money being spent on each patient for treatment, medicine and the medical laboratory examinations carried out. For instance, the government was spending on average about Rs. 1 million on each cancer patient. But, when the patients left the hospital after full recovery, he or she was not aware of the expenditure incurred, he said.

The Health Minister added that from January 2013, all OPDs, clinics and in-patients, before leaving the respective hospitals, would be given bills on the medical cost involved so that they would be able to realise the amount spent for their recovery.

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