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Delhi HC asks respondents to treat PIL against capping hospital charges for COVID treatment as 'representation'

ANI | Updated: Jul 03, 2020 22:40 IST

New Delhi [India] July 3 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the respondents to consider the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking review of the Delhi government's decision to cap the price of COVID-19 treatment "as a representation" and look into it in an expedited manner.
The plea sought directions to the Delhi government to take appropriate steps to rectify the operational error caused by order dated June 20 to cap the price of COVID-19 treatment without taking into adequate consideration of variables involved thereto.
Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan heard the matter.
The petition stated that the said order though passed in absolute goodwill has given rise to operational errors, defeating the purpose of ensuring equitable quality treatment to all.
"It has ignored that the disparity of severity of the disease COVID-19 would extend beyond the physical provisions, like bedding of the hospitals," it said.
A committee was set up under Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog for fixing rates for COVID related treatment to be charged by private hospitals in the NCT of Delhi, with the provision that all COVID-19 beds would be at rates given by the committee subject to the upper limit of 60 per cent of the beds of total hospital bed capacity. The recommendations of the committee were further accepted by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.
The petition said that the impugned order divides the hospitals into two categories and the charges have been fixed depending upon severity of the patients.
The petitioner, SKM Foundation, through its founding Trustee, Sudhir Mishra had approached the court through lawyer Patel Chandhok, saying that the basis of economic capping by the order is based on a singular categorisation of the bed/room facility to be accorded to the patients. No other substantial basis of division or elaborate details have been put forth leaving the private hospitals in a conundrum of operational viability of the order.
The plea added that a straight jacket formula cannot be applied for patients with vast arrays of bodily deficiencies. "The divide created by the order on the basis of severity of the disease and their health conditions only extends to the kind of structural facility (isolation beds and ICU with/without ventilator) the patients would be provided. Grave concerns are triggered when observed that this does not further its application to the real aid, that is, the medicinal facility to be provided to the patient," it read.
The plea further added that the inclusion of the medical care of all the co-morbidities in the package for the treatment of COVID patients might have "unforeseeable consequences".
It is stated that as the cost of the high-end medications, which would be needed to be administered to the patient for all the other co-morbidities would inflate the basic expenses of the private hospitals, there is a strong apprehension on the part of the petitioner that such medication might not be administered to the patients by the private hospitals. (ANI)

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