VIJAYAWADA: At a time when the State is reporting a spike in daily Covid-19 cases, some private testing centres and hospitals are fleecing the public by charging more money than the price prescribed by the State government for tests in the name of premium service.
A private Covid-19 testing laboratory along Tikkle Road in Vijayawada allegedly charged Rs 1,000 for the test when a government employee K Bharathi (name changed) visited the centre two days ago. When Bharathi experienced minor symptoms such as fever and severe body pains, she decided to give her sample to get confirmation.
Ironically, the State government had issued an order reducing the price of the RT-PCR test for Covid-19 to Rs 350 from the existing Rs 499. Many hospitals and laboratories are allegedly collecting more than the prescribed price for tests from the public, flouting the rules.
When TNIE asked Bharathi why did they charge extra Rs 750 for the test, which should be not more than Rs 350 and free of cost in government hospitals and primary healthcare centres, she said the laboratory management collects extra bucks only to provide the test results on the same day.
“While I was filling the application, the representatives of the testing centre came up with two plans — ordinary and fast service. While the ordinary costs Rs 350, one should have to shell out extra bucks if they want to know the test results on the same day or in less than six hours. Encashing the anxiety to get results early, test centres are fleecing the public,” she said.
On the other hand, some hospitals are conducting tests illegally using the referral system. “Before this, I visited a private hospital where they are performing tests sans permission,” she added. When contacted TNIE, Collector J Nivas said errant test centres are being inspected and imposed fines for violating rules set by the government. He also said special teams were formed to check irregularities at testing centres.
The Collector urged the people to lodge complaints if anyone collected excess amounts for tests.