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Private Labs Should Be Reimbursed At Appropriate Time For COVID-19 Tests, Says AIIMS RDA General Secretary

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking directions to modify its earlier order which had directed all the private laboratories to conduct free tests for COVID-19.

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The General Secretary of Resident Doctors' Association, AIIMS, Dr Srinivas Rajkumar T said the judgement by Supreme Court regarding free COVID-19 tests at private labs was in public interest, but there should be a proper mechanism wherein private labs should be reimbursed at an appropriate time.

Asked whether there should be a mechanism for reimbursement of the entire testing process of COVID-19 patients, Dr Srinivas told ANI, "Definitely. There should be a proper mechanism which should be transparent for the private labs and anybody for that sake should be reimbused at appropriate time so that testing can continue unhampered." "The judgement by Supreme Court is in public interest, but there has to be mechanism by government to follow the Supreme Court order for the best interest of everybody," he said.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking directions to modify its earlier order which had directed all the private laboratories to conduct free tests for COVID-19. The plea filed by former AIIMS RDA President Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, prayed the apex court to modify the order dated April 8, 2020, to allow private labs to carry out COVID-19 testing as per the rates stipulated in the ICMR's March 17, 2020 advisory.

On this, Dr Srinivas said, "It is very important that though the intention of the Supreme Court is at the public interest for the benefit of the entire Indian population, it is important to note that private labs cannot afford to do a test which is so expensive. Even the sample collection is very expensive. So, it is important to note that either the government should reimburse immediately or government can even think about reimbursing beforehand."

The Supreme Court had, on April 8, directed that the tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved government laboratories or approved private laboratories shall be conducted free of cost. The tests relating to COVID-19 must be carried out in NABL accredited labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR, the apex court had said in its order. The ICMR had earlier capped the cost of COVID-19 tests by private labs at Rs 4,500.

Dr Srinivas also said, "This is definitely a testing time for India. Both the healthcare setup and economic policies will have to step up to face this demand." 

(ANI)


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Private Labs AIIMS Delhi General Secretary supreme court