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Identify Private Hospitals Where Cost-Effective/Free Treatment For COVID-19 Can Be Done : SC Tells Centre

Sanya Talwar
27 May 2020 7:07 AM GMT
Identify Private Hospitals Where Cost-Effective/Free Treatment For COVID-19 Can Be Done : SC Tells Centre
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up for hearing a plea seeking nationwide cost related regulations for treatment of Coronavirus patients at private and corporate hospitals.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy directed the Centre to identify a list of those hospitals where minimum or free of cost treatment can be done for treatment of Coronavirus and listed the matter after a week.

"You identify all those hospitals and find out. You try to find out and see whether these hospitals can charge minimum cost or even free of cost" CJI SA Bobde stated.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre before the top court pointed that this being a policy issue requires to be decided by the Government. He stated that he will respond to this prayer and sought time to filed reply accordingly.

On April 30th, the top court had issued notice in the plea filed by Sachin Jain and had observed that it could not interfere in matters of Private Hospitals, without giving them an opportunity of being heard.

On the last date, petitioner-in-person had submitted that there must be a regulation for all entities as government has given them unfettered powers to charge patients. Jain had further argued that this imposition of unfettered and huge charges did not encompass surgical treatment, but only providing hospital beds to patients.

The plea averred that the issue of cost regulations across the country to private and corporate entities for treatment of COVID19 patients was a matter of "urgent consideration" as many private hospitals were commercially exploiting patients suffering from the deadly virus "to make a fortune out of their miseries in the hour of national crisis".

It further elucidated its averments by pointing to various reports of surging bills of covid patients and the resultant barrage on insurance companies for reimbursements.

"It is submitted that if such inflated billing by the private hospitals can become a cause of concern for the insurance industry, what will be the plight of a common man who neither has a fat wallet nor an insurance cover to reimburse, in case, he requires hospitalization in a private hospital. It is a matter of grave concern that a large section of people in India still do not possess any insurance cover and are also not benefitted under any government health scheme." - the petition reads

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