Telangana High Court, on 07.07.2020, sought to know from the State Government on what action it has initiated against Thumbay Hospital for allegedly detaining a government doctor over a payment issue. Precisely, the Court questioned how private hospitals were still charging exorbitant rates despite a government order capping treatment charges.
Submission of the Petitioner
The counsel for the petitioner is Pratap Narayan Sanghi. He submitted that the upper limit for a hospital room with a ventilator is Rs 9,000 per day. Some hospitals have been displaying charges of Rs. 90,000 for such rooms at their reception. The Clinical Establishments Act directs the cap. The cap is not only applicable to COVID-19 patients but to all patients.
Further, the counsel submitted that the government should monitor the functioning of these hospitals. Several private hospitals are conducting treatment with the charges from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. These hospitals are levying such charges per patient. One of the doctors, Dr Sultana, has charged Rs 1.5 lakh for two days of treatment.
Observation of the Court
The Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy heard the Public Interest Petition. The Court observed that it is a matter of grave concern and urgency. It found that the government has issued an order indicating the upper limit for charges. But private hospitals are flouting the order at will and resultantly, are charging exorbitantly. Therefore, the bench sought to know about the same from advocate general B.S. Prasad. Moreover, they seek to inquire what action they have taken against the hospital.
The decision of the Court
After analysing the claims, the bench issued three notices to:
- the principal secretary for health,
- medical health commissioner,
- the national and state councils for clinical establishment.
In these notices, the Court directed them to respond to the contentions within a week.
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