The government is planning to fix the charges of services provided by private hospitals and health clinics, Health Minister Zahid Malik said Monday. "It's a complex process but once implemented, it'll help ensure that the service seekers aren't cheated," he told a media conference at the Secretariat ahead of the National Health Service Week. Minister Malik said that the fees are already fixed at public hospitals.
The private hospitals have been asked to submit a list of service fees. The government will then grade the quality of services and finalize the chart."It's difficult to fix the rates but we'll find out a way after talks with stakeholders," he said. "We're trying to cut the treatment costs."
He said the National Health Services Week, scheduled for April 16-20, aims at raising awareness about health. Recently the health minister told The Asian Age: "Introduction of 15 percent Value Addition Tax (VAT) on consultancy fees of physicians in the country is now a demand of time. The government is planning to take such a move."Government can generate a huge amount of revenue to the state exchequer if doctors pay VAT against consultancy fees, said sources in the National Board of Revenue.
It is known fact that doctors across the country are making money in the name of private practice every day without giving any money receipts to the patients.Physicians in urban and rural areas get Tk 500 as consultancy fee on an average from each patient. A doctor sees at least 10-15 patients every day.
It is a constitutional rights of patients to get receipts of the money they pay to doctors as consultancy fees. It will help the NBR to learn how much a doctor earns every day from private practice. As per law, the physicians are supposed to pay 15 percent VAT against their consultancy fees. Nearly one lakh physicians currently work throughout the country, out of them around seventy percent actively practice privately in the afternoon without paying VAT.
If the physicians pay 15 percent VAT, the government will get about Tk 13 crore as revenue, according to the NBR. An Additional Secretary to the Health Ministry has told The Asian Age that government can look into the matter to introduce VAT for the practitioner physicians to make them accountable to the state as well as to the patient. If VAT is introduced in this sector, government will get a good amount of VAT that may be expended for developing the facilities in medical sector.
Dr Zafarullah Chowdhury said that the proposal is good but the burden will be borne by the patients as a whole. The physicians are paying income tax but they are evading the VAT. The government can introduce a good system to regulate the profession of physicians especially realizing the VAT.
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