The High Court has sought a detailed response from the state government and the Centre over allegations of exorbitant and unreasonable price being charged by private hospitals, in contravention of the government order that has fixed the maximum cost to be charged for Covid-19 treatment.
The petitioner approached the court stating that private hospitals are charging exorbitantly upto Rs.2,00,000 for ten days of treatment. The hospitals, depending upon their grade, can charge up to Rs. 15,000 per day, but some hospitals are allegedly charging around Rs.1,00,000 per day.
Further, it was stated that by way of an order, the Government had directed the private clinical establishments to allocate minimum 50 percent of the total bed capacity for treating Covid-19 patients, since this was declared an international health emergency. However, the petitioner submitted that private hospitals were not providing beds as directed in the Government Order and there was no proper mechanism available for implementation of the Government orders.
Justices MS Ramesh and B. Pugalendhi, at the outset, appreciated the valuable services rendered by the doctors, nurses, health workers and all other frontline workers during this unprecedented crisis.
At the same time, it perused some receipts provided by the petitioner and said, “exorbitant charges have been collected by some hospitals, even during this difficult time, which cannot be permitted. The hospitals are taking advantage of the Covid-19 Pandemic situation, it appears, making use of it to collect exorbitant charges.”
Accordingly, the court has sought the following details from the Centre and State government:
1. Whether the Government Orders from the Health and Family Welfare Department are strictly complied with in its letter and spirit?
2. How is the Government monitoring the implementation of the aforesaid Government Orders?
3. Whether the maximum cost for Covid-19 treatment as directed by the Government in the aforesaid Government Orders is exhibited in a prominent manner in the private hospitals enabling the general public to know about the charges and the details of the authority to whom any complaint regarding the exorbitant charges and violations of the said Government Orders, can be lodged?
4. What is the penal provision or penalty contemplated for violation of the aforesaid Government Orders and who is the authority monitoring the implementation of the aforesaid Government Orders?
5. How many complaints have been received by the Government for violation of the said Government Orders and what is the action taken on the complaints, if any?
6. Why not the Government maintain a separate portal giving the availability of the private hospitals and their bed capacity along with the fees structure in the portal, as maintained by Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, etc.
7. The Government Order mentions that the beneficiaries under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme are covered in the empanelled private hospitals and if so, how many persons have been treated under the scheme so far.
8. Whether under the Tamil Nadu Employees Health Insurance Scheme, the Government servants are entitled to take treatment for Covid-19 in the private hospitals?
The matter will be heard on May 12.
The order may be read here:
Courtesy: Sabrang India