A hospital near Hyderabad where everything is on the house

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Patients and their attendants queuing up at the Arundhati Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Dundigal near Hyderabad.  The hospital does not have a billing counter.

Patients and their attendants queuing up at the Arundhati Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Dundigal near Hyderabad. The hospital does not have a billing counter. , Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In an era where hospitals are often associated with exorbitant fees, it may appear strange that a multi-specialty hospital on the outskirts of Hyderabad is operating without a billing counter.

Costly diagnosis and complex operations are done free of cost for anyone walking into the Arundhati Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Dundigal. Even post-operative facilities are extended without any charge. This makes it a unique hospital where one can walk in and walk out after experiencing the best of medical facilities without spending a rupee.

The hospital is the result of a promise made by Marri Rajashekhar Reddy to his mother. “This is also an inspiration from the Gift A Smile Campaign of BRS working president and Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao, who asked the party cadre to donate ambulances and create medical facilities wherever they could,” Mr. Reddy says.

The hospital will be attached to the medical college he is establishing on the same premises for which he is awaiting permission from the National Medical Commission (NMC). Over the past three years, Mr. Reddy has spent over ₹1 crore every month to maintain the full-fledged 450-bed hospital.

“Unlike other hospitals that medical colleges run, everything here is free,” he says, recalling how complex heart surgeries too have been performed for the poor, who had been turned away by corporate hospitals. The funds are sourced from other educational institutions run by his family members that include engineering, management and pharmacy colleges.

Hospital records reveal that nearly 2.30 lakh out-patients have availed services during the past three years, while more than 8,000 surgeries by different departments have been performed. Of these, 3,000 were major surgeries. Diagnostics like MRI, CT, ultrasonography, mammography, digital X-ray, EEG and EMG are all done without taking any money. “Hospitals attached to medical colleges offer these facilities at a discounted price, but here, it is all free,” Mr. Reddy says.

The footfall is growing primarily due to the word-of-mouth publicity by the patients themselves. “It is interesting to see patients from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh too. Most of these are relatives of migrants from those States working in that area. Since everything is free, they prefer our hospital,” Mr. Reddy says, adding, “They are surprised by the corporate hospital facilities at no cost.

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