Action against Private Hospitals Overcharging for COVID-19 Treatment: HC to State Govt

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On Thursday, the High Court of Telangana ordered the State Govt to launch action against those private hospitals allegedly charging excessively for COVID-19 patients in violation of guidelines & beyond the prescribed rates fixed by the Govt.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, while hearing a batch of PILs, directed the Govt to take strict action in accordance with law on private healthcare facilities, which are not following the State Govt guidelines while collecting fee from patients.

The petitions alleged that private hospitals were charging exorbitantly for Coronavirus treatment from patients.

The State Govt informed the Court that certain complaints were received against private hospitals, which were under process of examination & disposal.

On Thursday, Telangana Chief Secretary & other senior officials appeared before the Court through video conference & informed it about the various measures undertaken by the State Govt to tackle COVID-19 & also submitted a report regarding implementation of its orders.

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Expressing satisfaction, the Court expected that the Govt will explore all possibilities to fulfill & comply with its directions.

In the earlier hearings on the same PILs, the bench had expressed displeasure over the State Govt not implementing its earlier orders on issues related to COVID-19 pandemic in the state, including number of tests, adherence to ICMR guidelines & publication of data with public.

The bench further directed that the private hospitals, which got concessions such as land concessions from the Govt, should provide free treatment to the poor people.

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The bench noted that the Govt. of Delhi issued certain guidelines in this regard & wanted the Telangana Govt to consider & issue a circular on similar lines.

The PILs had also sought directions to the state government to provide required medical equipment, medicines & trained staff to the designated COVID-19 hospitals & to take steps to curtail the spread of the virus.

The Court also ordered the Govt to establish a grievance cell under Chief Secretary to monitor COVID-19 treatment & to increase the number of oxygen beds in hospitals besides ramping up testing.

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The Court posted the matter to Sept 4 & dispensed with the appearance of the Chief Secretary & directed the other officials to appear before it. 

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