Check notice board, then pay for surgery

BMC has asked civic hospitals to display the correct rates for implants like stents, valves and wires, to prevent clueless patients from being duped by medical suppliers 
Patients or their kin, who have to buy surgical implants like wires, valves and stents for medical procedures at the cardio-vascular-thorax-centres (CVTC) of civic run hospitals need no longer worry about medical suppliers or doctors taking advantage of their ignorance and selling them the devices at inflated prices. A recent directive passed by the BMC instructs CVTCs at all civic hospitals to display notice boards enumerating the accurate prices of each of the devices, for the convenience of patients seeking treatment. The drive will first be implemented at KEM hospital.

Guide wires, valves and stents are costly implants for procedures that are not covered in the BMC's drug schedule. This means that patients who require these devices usually have to turn to private medical suppliers, who often sell them at inflated prices. At other times, it is the doctors who push for costlier implants, even cheaper when alternatives are easily available.

In order to address these lacunae, the civic body is undertaking a pilot project, wherein it will float tenders inviting medical suppliers to sell about 60 implants which are frequently prescribed for heart surgeries. These will then be sold to patients or their relatives at the gift shops in each of the hospitals. And the notice board enumerating correct hospital rates for these items will prevent the suppliers for exacting unfair prices from clueless and confused patients and their kin.

"We have floated tenders for these items for the CVTCs of all three civic-run hospitals, including KEM, Nair and Sion. This will go a long way in ensuring that the implants reach patients at the best possible rates," said an official from KEM hospital. At present, there are around 300 different kinds of implants prescribed for various procedures, which are not covered by the BMC's drug schedule and have to be procured from private suppliers. If the initiative at the CVTC department is successful, the BMC plans to float similar tenders for items required by the Radiology and Orthopedic departments as well. 

Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM hospital and director of the major civic hospitals, said, "We are going to display boards stating the price of these implants. This way the patients will be aware of the correct prices of the items that they are purchasing, and not get duped by suppliers. The respective gift shops of each hospital will sell these items at the same price listed on the board."

A senior doctor from the hospital said, "Such boards will be of great help to patients. Sometimes our in-house doctors push a particular company's implants, and the trusting patients end up buying costlier items, even when cheaper alternatives are available. This move will secure the interests of the patients and put an end to their exploitation at the hands of doctors and

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