Form commission for grievances against private hospitals: Bombay high court
The court was told the state government has issued notifications warning hospitals against overcharging. But in the absence of a redressal mechanism, the assurances and notifications have been ineffectiveUpdated: Oct 01, 2020, 16:42 IST
The Bombay high court has said the state has the power to cancel the registrations of private hospitals and nursing homes found guilty of overcharging Covid-19 patients, but shutting them would not be a viable option. It has said compensation to such patients could be a remedy. The court also suggested the state could form a redressal mechanism in the form of a commission on the lines of a similar set up in West Bengal that has been effective in addressing grievances of such overcharging. It observed that mere entrustment of duty to administrative officers may not be enough and the Maharashtra government can consider similar solutions. The court said this while disposing of a petition seeking directions for capping rates of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits in private hospitals and nursing homes.
The court was told the state government has issued notifications warning hospitals against overcharging. But in the absence of a redressal mechanism, the assurances and notifications have been ineffective.
Abhijit Mangade, the petitioner, submitted bills of a private hospital which charged Rs 1.37 lakhs for PPE kits from a patient under treatment for 20 days. Mangade told a division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni that the patient was given a regulated bed. He added though there was a cap on the rate of PPE kits, the hospital charged the man for 11 PPE kits per day, thus making the entire purpose of the rate chart useless.
A notification issued by the government said private hospitals could charge only Rs 600 for a PPE kit.
Managade told the court that a hospital run by a charitable trust had also charged a Covid-19 patient Rs 46,000 for one-day hospitalisation. Mangade added flying squads constituted to ensure that private hospitals and nursing homes did not exploit patients had also been ineffective as overcharging continued.
Mangade submitted the court should direct the state to constitute a grievance redressal mechanism, which is effective and complies with the provisions stipulated in the government notifications.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted the notifications had empowered municipal and district officials to address the grievances of patients.