Hyderabad

Why no action against private hospitals for not extending free COVID treatment, asks HC

Telangana High Court on Tuesday expressed dissatisfaction over reported refusal of Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital in Banjara Hills and Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills to treat poor COVID-19 patients.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a PIL plea seeking direction to the two hospitals to treat poor patients free of cost, said the issues raised by the petitioner need to be examined. Seventy-three-year-old Omim Maneckshaw Debara, who filed the plea, stated that the managements of the two hospitals secured government lands in city’s central and prime localities and were supposed to treat 15% to 25% of poor patients free of cost.

The petitioner requested the court to secure details of the poor patients the Basavatarakam cancer hospital and Apollo hospital had treated since their establishment. The government had released separate orders in this regard, the petitioner said. The government should ensure that 40% outpatients were extended free treatment in the hospitals free of cost.

He appealed to the court to instruct the government that the two hospitals complied with the provisions of the GOs issued through the revenue department with regard to free consultation and treatment to be extended to poor patients. Mr. Maneckshaw also asked the court to pass orders instructing the two hospitals to provide free treatment to poor COVID patients free of cost.

These private corporate hospitals get prime lands on lease at concessional rates from government assuring that they would reserve 15% to 25% of beds for poor patients, said the bench. “Why the government was not initiating any action against these two hospitals when they were violating written assurances relating to free treatment,” the bench asked.

The two GOs issued by the government clearly state that the hospitals should abide by the assurances with regard to free consultation and treatment to poor patients. Serious action should be taken against these two hospitals by cancelling their lease agreement and revoking their licenses to run the hospitals, the bench said.

“This court is surprised that private hospitals are collecting phenomenal amounts from COVID-19 patients for treatment,” the bench remarked. Directing the Registry of the HC to tag the petition along with along with 18 other PIL pleas relating to COVID-19, the bench said the newspaper reports recently highlighted an instance of a private hospital refusing to release the body of a patient over bill payment. “Private hospitals are behaving as if they have rights over the dead bodies,” the bench said. The plea was posted to August 13 for next hearing.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 9:16:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/why-no-action-against-private-hospitals-for-charging-patients/article32280039.ece

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