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Demonetisation: Kolkata hospitals roll out EMI option for cash-strapped patients

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At least three hospitals in Kolkata have come up with a novel way to help patients facing cash crisis post demonetisation of high value currency notes. The AMRI Hospitals, MEDICA Superspecialty Hospital and Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals in the city have introduced equated monthly installment (EMI) facility for patients who can’t settle their entire bill amount in cash or card.

“An overwhelming number of patients has opted for it. We have had a meeting with the agency through which the facility is being offered and they are mulling appointing coordinators at all our centres. The measure has helped scores of families who were finding it difficult to arrange cash or are not comfortable with cards,” said Rupak Barua, CEO, AMRI Hospitals.

The MEDICA Superspecialty Hospital has given a range of payment options to patients. Within a day of demonetisation, the hospital had allowed the patients to pay through cheques and credit notes and now EMI has been added to that list. “We have had the facility for underprivileged patients since the last five years. Now, it has been extended to all,” said MEDICA Chairperson Alok Roy.

Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals on Canal Circular Road, too, has allowed patients to make “part payment”.

“We have kept the system as an informal one and are offering the facility on a case-to-case basis. So, neither do we have any fixed EMI amount nor a definite repayment period. Depending on the patient’s needs and financial condition, the EMI amount and periods of payment are stretchable,” said Rupali Basu, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals.

None of the hospitals are charging an interest for the deferred payment. But no decision has been taken yet whether to continue the facility after the demonetisation crisis gets over.

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