BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government has welcomed the advisory of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for on-demand Covid-19 tests and warned that private labs and hospitals cannot charge more on the pretext of doctor consultation fee.
The advisory does away with prescription by a registered medical practitioner for COVID test. Adopting the new strategy, the Union Health Ministry has allowed State Governments to decide on simplified modalities.
The Ministry has made it clear that the on-demand testing can be availed by individuals who wish to get themselves tested and those undertaking travel to countries/states which have mandated a negative COVID-19 test at point of entry.
Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra said the State Government has allowed on-demand testing since long and capped testing prices at the private labs and hospitals.
“While the testing is free at the Government labs in the State, it has been capped at Rs 1,200 for RT-PCR test and Rs 450 for antigen test at the private facilities. There is no extra cost for prescription,” he said.
Mohapatra, however, informed that the State Government will come out with a fresh notification as per the ICMR advisory doing away with prescription by registered medical practitioners.
“We will take stringent action as per Clinical Establishment Act, if complaint is lodged against any lab or hospital for overcharging for tests and COVID treatment,” he warned.
Despite the price capping, the private labs and hospitals in the State continue to overcharge patients by adding Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 as doctor consultation fee. The Ministry has also asked states to ensure tracking and contact tracing of positive cases detected by the testing laboratories.