Govt sets ceiling on doctors’ fees

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Aug 27, 2014-

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has set a ceiling of Rs 475 as fee for consultant doctors practising in both private and public hospitals and clinics.

A ministerial level decision taken on Wednesday has directed all the health centers and doctors across the country to this effect. As per the decision, an MBBS doctor can charge a maximum of Rs 250 consultation fee while the doctors with more than five years of experience will be allowed to charge up to Rs 300. Similarly, MBBS doctors with a post-graduate diploma can charge Rs 350 while the same doctor after five years of experience can charge an additional Rs 50. As for doctors with MD/MS, the fee has been set at Rs 450, and such doctors with experience of five years can charge up to Rs 475. Before the decision was reached, the curative division of the MoHP that regulates hospitals had presented the details of the plan. According to the decision, concerned doctors have to consult patients for free if they come for a follow-up within seven days of the first visit. The fee ceilings set by the government is exclusive of Value Added Tax and other service charges. With all tax included, the highest price ceiling for consultation goes up to Rs 495.

The decision also states that the price ceiling will be revised every two years while all health facilities are mandated to keep the price details for people to refer to it.

Dr Guna Raj Lohani, chief of curative division, said the move was necessary to bring uniformity in fees charged by doctors in private clinics and hospitals. “This will not be implemented in the general OPD of government hospitals though,” Dr Lohani said.

Initially, the division had proposed a fee of Rs 200 for MBBS doctors to Rs 400 for specialists with experience of seven years. However, following discussions with Nepal Medical Association and other professional organisations and experts, the fees and the experience time-frame were revised.

Similar efforts to create uniformity in the doctor fees were undertaken in the past. On December 10, 2002, while Dr Upendra Devkota was the Health minister, the government had fixed the consultation fee to Rs 75 for MBBS doctors and a maximum of Rs 275 for senior consultants who have at least 10 years of experience. However, the government failed to implement the decision.

Dr Jagdish Agrawal of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital urged the government to include even doctors who come as consultants from Delhi and other countries for a short period of time under the scheme. “The rule has to be equal for everyone,” Dr Agrawal said, adding that the government has to develop a mechanism to review fees on yearly basis based on the inflation.

The rate, if implemented, is likely to increase the price charged by consultants in paying clinics of government hospitals. As per present rates, Bir Hospital and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital charge Rs 150 and Rs 250 respectively in their paying clinics.

New fee shedule

Degree                    Experience              Fee (RS)

MBBS                Less than five years           250

                           Five years or more              300

PG Diploma    Less than five years             350

                           Five years or more               400

MD/MS               Less than five years            450

                            Five years or more               475

 

Published: 28-08-2014 09:12

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