The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rethink paves revenue path

The radiotherapy department of Nilratan Sirkar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital has shown that a cash-strapped government unit, too, can generate revenue.

It all started with head of department (radiotherapy) Kalyan Bhattacharya despatching a proposal to the state health department, detailing how the government could utilise the resources at its disposal. For one, he suggested that since the hospital received a significant number of patients from the middle to higher-income groups, the department could charge them more than the present Rs 40 per consulting session.

He sought the government’s permission to start a special consultancy package for this category, which could generate an annual revenue of over Rs 6 lakh. Other proposals included tie-ups with private nursing homes and hospitals that did not have radiotherapy facilities, accepting donations from foreign firms keen to invest here, raising funds by organising public shows for the cause of cancer and forging an alliance with voluntary organisations working for cancer patients.

Bhattacharya was given the go-ahead by a government “impressed” by the enterprise. “This is a fantastic proposal and we have already implemented it. The results so far have been encouraging and we are hoping to receive similar proposals from several departments of other government hospitals,” health secretary Asim Barman told Metro.

Starting October 1, Bhattacharya split the consulting period into three time slots — 9 am to 1 pm for ‘free’ patients; 1 pm to 2 pm for patients who could afford the Rs-5,000 package for a fixed number of appointments and 2 pm to 5 pm, for both free and paying patients.

The results have been dramatic — the NRS radiotherapy unit has generated Rs 1.22 lakh revenue in October, compared with Rs 25,000 last month.

The second part of Bhattacharya’s plans took shape after he tied up with Westbank Hospital, in Howrah, and AMRI-Apollo Hospitals, in Dhakuria.

“Some other private nursing homes have approached us about using our facilities,” admitted Bhattacharya.

“We have got into a reciprocal arrangement with NRS Hospital,” confirmed Satadal Saha, director of Westbank. “Under this arrangement, we will send our patients to the radiotherapy department of NRS and in return, the hospital will refer its patients to us for treatment in departments we specialise in.”

Jose Verghese, chief executive officer, AMRI-Apollo Hospitals, added: “Since the radiotherapy infrastructure at NRS Hospital is excellent, we have decided to refer our patients there.”

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