K.J. Somaiya asked to reply to overcharging allegations

Are beds available under EWS quota, asks HC

The Bombay High Court on Friday noted that there are “serious allegations” against K.J. Somaiya Hospital for charging patients exorbitantly for COVID-19 treatment, and asked the hospital of it has any beds available under 10% quota for economic weaker sections (EWS) of the society.

A Division Bench of justices R.D. Dhanuka and Madhav Jamdar was hearing a plea filed by Abdul Shoeb Shaikh and six others. The slum dwellers, who reside at Bharat Nagar, Bandra (East), were admitted to the hospital on April 11. When they were discharged on April 28, the hospital charged them over ₹10 lakh, which they paid by taking loans.

However, they have now filed a plea through advocate Vivek Shukla, challenging the bills raised by the hospital. They have also sought direction from court to the State and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to regulate fees of private and corporate hospitals for treatment of COVID-19.

According to the court, perusal of the bills indicate that the hospital has charged towards anaesthetist fees, while Mr. Shukla stated that none of the patients availed such services. The court has also asked the hospital if any personal protective equipment (PPE) kits were provided and/or used for their treatment as indicated in the bills.

The court also directed the hospital, which is admittedly a charitable hospital, to disclose in the affidavit if any beds were available under 10% EWS quota, and if similar charges were recovered from other patients of COVID-19.

The State government, charity commissioner, Principal Secretary of Health Department and Collector of Mumbai have been directed to file an affidavit on whether the hospital is liable to reserve 10% beds for the EWS category. If so, they must narrate the terms and conditions. The authorities shall also enquire if the hospital fulfils such conditions. The enquiry shall be conducted under the personal supervision of the Charity Commissioner.

The court has ordered the authorities to file the affidavit on or before June 19, and posted the matter for hearing on June 23.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 8:51:17 AM |

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