The government has taken an initiative to increase the registration and annual renewal fees for private medical colleges, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres in a bid to mobilise more revenues from the country’s private health sector and to ensure greater accountability in the sector.
Sources at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said a proposal in this regard has already been approved by the finance ministry and waiting for final approval of the health ministry.In the proposal, the registration and annual renewal fees for private health services providers have been increased by up to 50 times to Tk 250,000. The existing registration and annual renewal fee is fixed at only Tk 5000 for private hospitals and Tk 1000 for private diagnostic centers, said the sources.
Talking to the daily sun, a DGHS high official said Finance Minister AMA Muhith this month approved the health services division’s proposals to increase registration and annual renewal fees for private health service providers in different categories. But DGHS is yet to receive the official order to introduce the new fees.
“Currently, the registration and annual renewal fees for the private health service providers are almost the same under a single category. In the proposal, we have created different categories for private healthcare institutions at capital, divisional, district and upazila levels,” DGHS Director (Hospitals and Clinics) Kazi Jahangir Hossain told the daily sun on Wednesday.
Responding to a query, he said they will introduce the new fees after getting directives from the health ministry. “We hope we will get the directives soon and introduce the new fees in a month,” he added.
DGHS sources said registration and annual renewal fees for private medical college hospitals is likely to be increased to Tk 250,000 from the existing Tk 5,000.
According to the proposal, registration and annual renewal fees for 250-bed hospitals in divisional headquarters and city corporations is likely to increase to Tk 200,000 from existing Tk 5,000.An official of the DGHS said, “Fees would be fixed based on categories for the private health service providers including hospitals, clinics and diagnostics centres. The fees would vary based on area and beds too.”
He said although private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres have been growing like mushroom across the country, the existing fees which have been introduced in 1987 has remained unchanged.
According to the proposal, the fees would increase to Tk 50,000 from Tk 1,000 for the diagnostics centres in category-A and to Tk 35,000 from Tk 1,000 for pathological centres in category-B in divisional headquarters.
Fees for dental clinics those now pay Tk 1,000 as registration and annual renewal fees might increase to Tk 30,000 in the divisional level, Tk 25,000 in the district level and Tk 20,000 in the upzila level, the sources added.
Asked about the proposal hike in registration and renewal fees, Bangladesh Private Clinic and Diagnostic Owners Association President Moniruzzaman Bhuiyan told the daily sun that they do not know anything about the proposed hike in registration and renewal fees.
“The authorities didn’t consult with us in this regard. But hiking the fees at an intolerable level will definitely hamper private healthcare services and many healthcare institutions might face closure for this,” he said.
Mentioning that around 10,000 private institutions including hospitals are providing health services across the country, he said the private health service providers are playing a crucial role in ensuring health services for the country’s people.
The DGHS officials said they have been proposing the hike for long but the government had not taken any initiative in this regard before.
They said the hike in registration and renewal fees would not only help generate higher revenue but also help strengthen the implementation of the rules and regulations in the private healthcare sector.