Reserving ICU beds a stop-gap measure to combat Covid, govt tells HC
The Delhi high court was hearing a plea challenging a September 13 government order, directing all private hospitals having bed strength of 50 or more to reserve at least 80% of their total ICU bed strength for Covid-19 patients.Updated: Oct 17, 2020, 03:53 IST
The Delhi government on Thursday told Delhi high court that its decision of reserving 80% ICU beds for Covid patients in city’s private hospitals was a policy decision that was taken considering the increase in the cases across the city. The government said that the move was a temporary measure to mitigate the surge in number of virus-related cases.
The court was hearing a plea challenging a September 13 government order, directing all private hospitals having bed strength of 50 or more to reserve at least 80% of their total ICU bed strength for Covid-19 patients.
The plea — filed by the Association of Healthcare Providers — had said that the government’s move was a violation of the fundamental right of the citizens of Delhi.
The government told the court that the association was looking to secure the financial interests of its member hospitals, under the garb of securing healthcare facilities for non-Covid patients. The government argued that the association was opposed to the reservation of beds as it wanted to admit critical Covid patients in their ICUs and levy arbitrary and exorbitant medical treatment fee and other such charges from them.
The government also pointed out that not only did none of the subject hospitals raise any protest and/or objection to the decision, the fact was that almost all of the 33 private hospitals had started implementing the order with immediate effect.
The HC then granted one-week time to Association of Healthcare Providers, which claims that the 33 private hospitals against whom the order was passed are its members, to file its response. The high court has asked the association to file a reply and will hear the case on the next on November 18.
The state government in their also reply said several other states like Maharashtra and Odisha have taken similar steps and put in place similar measures to combat the pandemic. It said they have adopted a hands-on dynamic approach for the management and mitigation of this disaster.
It said since certain private hospitals have been the preferred choices of patients, it has been found that they hardly have any free and available ICU beds for Covid-19 patients. The government said that there is a section of the society — including those with health insurance, CGHS, DGHS, and ECHS beneficiaries — who prefer admission in private hospitals despite the availability of beds in the government sector.
Despite repeated attempts, Girdhar Gyani, the director general of Association of Healthcare Providers was not available for a comment