Karnataka High Court tells State government to rein in hospitals fleecing Covid patients

Karnataka High Court
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Karnataka High Court

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The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government to take action against hospitals charging excess fee from Covid-19 patients.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has directed the State government to take action against hospitals charging excess fee from Covid-19 patients.

The court has ordered the State government to publish advertisements in newspapers and put information on the website of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to facilitate people to lodge complaints against private hospitals which have charged excess fees for the Covid treatment.

The inquiry report on several petitions on Covid management was submitted on Monday to the divisional bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi. He has asked the government to provide information on the action taken against private hospitals which have charged excess fee violating the government guidelines on treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The bench also directed the government and BBMP to furnish details of excess fee being returned to the Covid patients during the time of next hearing.

The counsel for the government has submitted to the court the list of hospitals which have charged an excess fee for treating Covid patients. The private hospitals have collected excess amount of Rs 1,98,83,498 from the patients referred by the government hospitals. Till date the hospitals have returned Rs 32,22,352 to patients.

They had collected Rs 1,55,91,845 excess fee for treatment of Covid patients who were admitted to private hospitals directly and they have refunded Rs 10, 42,339 to the patients. Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust helpline has been set up to receive complaints on this matter. Around 1,325 cases have been registered so far, he informed the court.

The government has fixed Rs 10,000 for general ward, Rs 15,000 for ICU without ventilator, Rs 12,000 for HDU and Rs 25,000 for ICU with ventilator facility. If private hospitals charge more than the prescribed amount and in case of refusal for treatment of Covid patients, they will be booked under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act and National Disaster Management Act (NDMA).

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