The Delhi government has rejected the proposal of some private hospitals to bill poor patients at CGHS rates instead of providing them free treatment as per the Delhi high court directions.
It has even turned down the hospitals’ offer to create a corpus for funding the treatment of such patients and also to designate few hours on daily basis for OPD consultation.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, Delhi government’s director of health services, all the 40 private hospitals in the Capital were obliged to extend 25% free IPD and OPD treatment to poor patients. According to the director, the March 2007 high court verdict gave relief to the hospitals by reducing the quantum of free treatment to poor patients from 25% to 20% in the IPD category.
The government filed its affidavit pursuant to SC orders on an appeal filed by 10 hospitals challenging the HC verdict. Though a bench headed by justice RV Raveendran refused to give relief to the petitioners against the HC ruling, it asked the government to consider the hospitals’ proposals on providing free treatment to the poor.
Subsequent to the July 25, 2011 direction, the government held a meeting with the petitioner hospitals. According to the affidavit, Max Super Specialty, Saket and IP Extension, and Bhagwati Hospital agreed to abide by the HC directions.
However, Ford Escorts Heart Institute offered to dedicate one hour each in the morning and evening for OPD consultations to the poor. For high value tests, it said, the hospital would charge 75% of the CGHS rates in the OPD and 50% in the IPD.
It sought a reimbursement from Delhi government in case a patient wasn’t in a position to pay for treatment.
Six other hospitals —Dharamshila Hospital and Research Centre, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Sunder Lal Jain Charitable Hospital, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, VIMHANS and Deepak Memorial Hospital had proposed to create a separate corpus fund to treat the poor.
It added the hospitals would spend 2% of the turn-over as reflected in the preceding financial year and charge the patients at CGHS rates.
According to the Delhi government affidavit not all the 40 private hospitals are following the HC judgment. Only 27 are treating the poor patients free of cost. The total number of free beds in these hospitals is 401 and more than 29 lakh patients have got OPD treatment since the 2007 judgment.