Regulate fees of pvt hospitals treating COVID-19 patients: HC

Regulate fees of pvt hospitals treating COVID-19 patients: HC
Ahmedabad, May 15 () The Gujarat High Court hasasked the state government to take necessary steps to regulatethe "exorbitant" fees charged by private hospitals which areauthorised to treat coronavirus patients.

The order was passed on Thursday by a division benchof Justices J B Pardiwala and Ilesh Vora which took suo motu(on its own) cognisance of news reports about various issuesrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, including high cost oftreatment in private hospitals.


The bench warned private hospitals against charginghigh amount for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The HC, in its ruling, noted that some privatehospitals authorised by the government to treat coronaviruspatients in Ahmedabad are charging fees "running in lakhs ofrupees and an ordinary man will never be able to afford toavail adequate treatment from a private hospital".

The bench directed the state government to ensure thatprivate hospitals do not charge "exorbitant fees for thetreatment of COVID-19 patients".

Since state-run hospitals are almost full with COVID-19 patients, the bench stressed that the government shouldauthorise more private medical facilities to treat such cases.


The HC noted that fee structure of such privatehospitals "should be regulated by the state government for thepurpose of COVID-19 treatment".

"These are difficult times and not the time to dobusiness and earn profit. Medical services are the mostessential service and private hospitals can not demand lakhsof rupees from a patient.

"Few private hospitals in Ahmedabad are demandingexorbitant fees running in lakhs of rupees. This is absolutelyunjustified and deserves to be deprecated," said the highcourt.

While asking the state to step in and "resolve theissue" immediately, the court even issued a warning to privatehospitals.

The bench said "If private hospitals do not budge andcontinue to demand exorbitant amount, then this court willhave to take legal action, including cancellation of licence".

Gujarat, which had recorded 9,592 coronavirus casesand 586 deaths till May 14, is one of the states worst-hit bythe viral infection. PJT PDRSY RSY

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