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BPL card holders to be treated free of cost at AIIMS #Odisha #News 

Bhubaneswar: Below poverty line (BPL) card holders in the state have something to cheer about. Now they don’t have to run from pillar to post to meet the costly medical expenses at private hospitals. For, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar has started free treatment for these people.iims bhubaneswar

Officials at the premier institute, which was dedicated to the public in February said, apart from other investigations and examinations, the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services has been started recently following a trial run for almost 25 days.

“Generally poor people fail to turn up at AIIMS-like medical institutes fearing high treatment cost which they may ill afford. But, here all BPL card holders can avail free treatment for all diseases, once they are admitted to the hospital,” AIIMS Bhubaneswar director Ashok Mohapatra said adding at present the institute witnesses about 800-1200 OPD patients, of which around 25% are BPL card holders.

Pointing out lack of awareness among them, he continued: “People are still not aware about the facilities and the quality of treatment we are providing here. And the irony is that they approach us for treatment after being financially exploited by the private hospitals. In most cases, it becomes difficult for us to save the deteriorating patients.

I expect the people of Odisha, and especially the BPL card holders must take the benefit of such services AIIMS is providing,” added Mohapatra, who is heading the institute’s neurosurgery department.

While whole body CT scan costs around Rs 18, 500 in a state-of-the-art hospital in the state capital, in case of MRI it varies from Rs 9,000 to Rs 13,860.

AIIMS authorities however made it clear that at the outpatient department (OPD), a BPL card holder can avail the pre-hospitalisation examinations/tests for free at the 978-bedded hospital but no medicines is available for these people.

“We don’t have a pharmacy facility to give free medicine for OPD patients. Even Delhi AIIMS doesn’t have this,” Mohapatra stated.

Figures at Planning Commission show in Odisha, 13.85 million people live below poverty line accounting 32.59% of the total population (2011-12). While the share is much larger in rural belt (12.61m), around 1.23 million live below poverty line in urban areas.

Sources said, efforts are on to put a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre in place at the hospital with 34 super speciality departments, 28 modular and optimal OTs and 110 ICU beds.

AIIMS-Bhubaneswar is also trying to set up a 350-bedded hospital at Balasore for which the State government had decided to provide 25 to 30 acres of land. The proposed hospital at Balasore, which will be the extension campus of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, would be taken up in two phases.

In the first phase, this campus would have 200 bedded hospital while the second phase would see the hospital being converted into 150-bedded super-speciality hospital.