Gangtok: Central Referral Hospital (CRH), the only private hospital in Sikkim devoted to COVID 19, has drastically reduced the rates for COVID testing.
The revised rates came into force on June 1, a press release issued by the hospital said.
RT-PCR tests will now cost Rs 1,300 as against the earlier rate of Rs 2,200. Similary, Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) will be charged Rs 350, as against Rs 400 earlier.
Also, RT-PCR home sample collection will now come for Rs 1,800. Earlier, it was charged Rs 2,700 per sample.
“In order to ease the financial burden of the people of Sikkim, the management has enabled economical pricing for Covid testing and treatment. Accordingly, SMU, SMIMS & CRH have enabled a major reduction in the rates of RTPCR tests to Rs 1,300 and RAT to Rs 350 since June 1, 2021,” the press release said.
“These rates, much below our operational costs, are in consonance with our onerous responsibility to our society,” it added.
Earlier, Gangtok-based CRH came under heavy criticism for their exorbitant pricing of COVID tests. Local residents had raised the concern on the issue, questioning why such high rates were being charged by the hospital.
CRH provides services of an NABL-accredited molecular virology lab for RT-PCR and CBNAAT tests. SARS COVID-19 testing was started from December 10, 2020 and so far, 4,469 RT-PCR tests, 256 CBNAAT tests and 12,009 RAT have been conducted at the hospital.
“The unrelenting second surge of COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected everyone’s lives. Our state of Sikkim has been responding proactively to safeguard our citizens and society, as well as address the economic consequences. This challenging resurgence has compelled us to adapt to new paradigms,” the press release added.
Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), along with its constituent units such as CRH, has been at the forefront of providing high-quality care to patients.
CRH was converted into a 100-bed COVID hospital on April 25 this year. It has dedicated infrastructure, equipment, facilities (including an oxygen plant) with an experienced team of specialists, doctors, nurses and support staff in the management of the COVID wards, ICUs and High Dependency Units for critical care.
As on May 31, 233 COVID patients have been admitted, of which 203 have recovered. Currently, there are 58 patients admitted for COVID-19 care, including those on life saving intensive care.
As many as 70 beds have been apportioned by the hospital for the free treatment of the poor and BPL patients. In addition, major concessions are given for treatment under the aegis of PMJAY, Ayushman Bharat, MMJRK, ESIC and the Manipal Cigna Schemes (earlier SMSS).
CRH has also been supporting the government with free COVID vaccination from January 25 this year and has given approximately 8,500 doses till date. The management is currently planning for vaccination of 18-45 category based on the state Government’s guidelines.
“We are working closely with the government of Sikkim and local administration to provide high quality healthcare services and safe hospital care with empathy to those in need,” Dr Yogesh Verma, medical superintendent of CRH, said.