Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 15 August 2020 4.53 PM IST

SC seeks Centre reply on plea for capping treatment cost of COVID patients in private hospitals


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a PIL seeking capping of the treatment cost of COVID-19 patients in private hospitals in the country.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan issued notice to the Centre on the PIL filed by Avishek Goenka for fixing an upper limit of cost for COVID--19 treatment by private hospitals.

The court said that the copy of the PIL filed through advocate Shiv Kumar Pandey be served on Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who would take instruction on the issue and reply in a week.

The plea has also sought increasing the number of private quarantine facilities and hospitals with an option to the infected people for availing such facilities on payment basis and said that currently such an option is not given to patients.

It also sought directions for immediate enrollment of more private hospitals, for Covid-19 post-infection treatment as well as Quarantine facilities.

The plea of Goenka also seeks immediate framing and advertising of the mechanism to avail Private Hospitals and quarantine facility, in case of Covid19 Infection as per the choice and affordability of the patient/suspects.

It also said that the government be asked to fix indicative rates of treatment for similar standards of such facilities and immediate enrollment of more private entities, for Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centres.

There should be a time-bound settlement of mediclaim by insurance companies and cashless treatment facilities is extended to all insured patients, the plea said.

The plea also sought constitution of a joint expert committee for examining and recommending best global practices for treatment of COVID-19 and its recommendations, shall be binding on all the authorities.

“Whether a person who is willing and has means to afford quality health care could be forced to go to a Government owned or aided - quarantine center or Hospital, against his choice denying him quality of life by the Respondent in the name of a pandemic particularly, when the same is without any reason?”, the plea raised the question of law.

It said that the authorities are unable to offer enough beds in Private Hospitals, where treatment can be available for Post Covid-19 Infection, to the patients who can afford the same and in the process, many of the affluent are being kept in Government facilities, which are not upto the standards, which the affluent are used to and hence adding to their existing misery.

It said that there should be full settlement of claims by the insurer in a time-bound manner and minimum to the tune of the cost of treatment fixed by the authorities within 24 hours of receipt of claim.

As an interim relief, the plea sought directions to concerned to file a status report indicating the availability of private hospital/quarantine centers for COVID-19 patients/suspects state-wise.

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