The Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file a report on a petition alleging that private hospitals were charging excessively from COVID-19 patients beyond the limit prescribed by the government.
The PIL was filed by advocate Srikishan Sharma seeking a direction to the state government to take action against the private hospitals for charging exorbitant bills and to issue guidelines for maintaining transparency in the matter of treatment and billing for all the patients.
The petitioner submitted that the Maharashtra government has imposed restrictions by way of a notification restricting the maximum bill that can be claimed by private hospitals but there is no such restriction imposed by the Telangana government.
The division bench also directed the state government to inform the court about the action taken against Thumbay hospital for allegedly charging over Rs 1 lakh for a day's treatment.
Notices were issued to the state government, the National Council and State council for the clinical establishment and four private hospitals- Medicover, Yashoda, Sunshine and Care to respond to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The PIL accused the private corporate hospitals of violating provisions of the Clinical Establishments Registration and Regulation Act, 2010 and the Indian Medical Council Professional Conduct Etiquette and Ethics Regulation, 2002.
The petitioner also cited some of the bills of a few patients, including those of COVID-19 patients, to substantiate the allegation of "exploitation" by private corporate hospitals.
A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, referred to the petitioner's contention and asked for a report from the government on the matter.
The Court, while posting the matter to July 14, also issued notices to the Central government and the private hospitals.
Prompted by dozens of Twitter users tagging the Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajanâ€™s Twitter handle on Monday, the Governor conducted a virtual review with the management teams of private hospitals. Twitter users had complained about the exorbitant price they have had to shell out for the treatment of the coronavirus.
The video conference was attended by various representatives of hospitals such as KIMS, Yashoda, Basava Tarakam, Virinchi, Rainbow and Sunshine, Continental and others. The Governor had sought details on the availability of beds, facilities and questioned the management over allegations of huge bills being charged at private hospitals.
(With PTI inputs)