Labs can’t charge at will for swine flu test: Health Dept

Punjab Chandigarh, February 19

The state government has taken various initiatives to control fleecing of the public by private hospitals and laboratories in view of the outbreak of swine flu.

Over 400 cases and 31 deaths have been reported due to the disease outbreak this season so far. As per the Health Department, at least 14 patients died due to H1N1 influenza, while a similar number died due to underlying diseases. Reports in three cases are awaited from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. In the past two three weeks, over 200 cases have been reported. Patiala, Ludhiana, SAS Nagar, Sangrur and Ropar are the worst-affected districts.

Regulating the diagnosis system, the government has decided that the maximum charges for the laboratory examination of swine flu should be Rs 3,500 per test. Besides, only NABL-accredited laboratories with adequate staff and infrastructure can offer such tests.

It has also been decided that only those patients who fall in Category C (showing severe disease symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, low blood pressure etc) will be considered for a medical screening through laboratory test. The report of the patient tested for H1N1 Influenza A will be shared with the Health Department immediately. In 2018, the state recorded 47 confirmed cases and 11 deaths, while in 2017, 239 cases and 76 deaths were reported.

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