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Billing By Pvt Hospitals Highly Inflated And Unreasonable: Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Mechanism To Regulate Cost On COVID19 Treatment Across The Country

Srishti Ojha
12 May 2021 6:23 AM GMT
Billing By Pvt Hospitals Highly Inflated And Unreasonable: Plea In Supreme Court Seeks Mechanism To Regulate Cost On COVID19 Treatment Across The Country
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Alleging commercial exploitation of Covid patients by private hospitals, a plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking nationwide Cost Related regulations for treatment of Covid 19 patients at private/ corporate hospitals.
The plea has stated that presently when the nation is fighting a battle against a pandemic, all private hospitals running on public land allotted at...

Alleging commercial exploitation of Covid patients by private hospitals, a plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking nationwide Cost Related regulations for treatment of Covid 19 patients at private/ corporate hospitals.


The plea has stated that presently when the nation is fighting a battle against a pandemic, all private hospitals running on public land allotted at concessional rates, or under category of 'charitable institutions' should be called upon to provide the hospitalisation and treatment to covid 19 patients pro bono and on non-profit basis.


Further, the plea has argued that tariffs of other private hospitals should also be regulated by Centre on fixed cost basis to preserve the human life.


The plea filed by Advocate Sachin Jain has sought directions to Centre to bear the cost of expenditure on treatment of Covid-19 at hospitals for the poor and vulnerable who neither have insurance nor have coverage under government health schemes like Ayushman Bharat.


The petition has also urged the Court to direct Centre to combat commercialisation of private health sector and identify individuals and hospitals involved in black marketing of essential health services at the hour of a national calamity.


Citing a news report that talked about a covid patient being charged 12 lakhs for treatment and insurance companies receiving claim of 5-6 lakhs for treatment, the plea has stated that the size of the claims is a matter of grave concern even for the insurance industry which states that even with 'no surgical interference' the biling by private hospitals are highly inflated and unreasonable.


According to the petitioner, as per the news reports, the insurers have been objecting to the artificially inflated bills being raised by the private hospitals. Further, it has stated that if inflated billing by private hospitals can become a cause of concern for insurance industry, what will be the plight of a common man who neither has fat wallet not an insurance cover to reimburse in case hospitalisation is required.


The plea has stated that its a matter of grave concern large section of people in India still do not possess any insurance cover and are not benefitted under any government health scheme.


According to the petitioner, considering the resource constraints pf Public health sector, its apparent that government health sector alone may not be able to manage the fallout, and extensive participation of private health care sector would be required particularly to deal with moderate and severe cases of covid 19 that require hospitalisation.


"It therefore becomes expedient for the State to promptly combat the commercial exploitation by private hospitals and bring in place adequate regulations on the tariff structure for regulating the private hospitals for treatment of COVID19 patients, to make them affordable and accessible with a view to preserve human life which is of paramount consideration " the plea reads.


The plea has cited the top court's judgement in the case of Moolchand Kharaiti Ram Trust (2018) stating that the Court had itself strongly condemned the exploitative and commercial tendencies of most private hospitals.


The petitioner has further cited the case of Parmanand Katara vs Union of India, and stated that the Court had not only given precedence to preservation of human life over any other factor, but also casted special obligation on healthcare sector including private to first save the life.


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