HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Wednesday expressed anguish and discontent over the functioning of two high-end corporate hospitals - Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute and Apollo Hospital - in Hyderabad for refusing to extend medical treatment to poor Covid patients.
"These private corporate hospitals are allotted prime land by the State government at a concessional price on lease, based on an assurance that they will reserve 15 to 25 per cent of beds for the poor and extend free consultation to 40 per cent outpatients. But the two private hospitals have violated these written assurances and the two GOs (517 and 484 of 1981 and 1989) issued to this effect," Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, part of a division bench along with Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, said
Why is the government not initiating any action against these hospitals? In fact, stringent action should be taken against them by cancelling their lease agreement and licence to run the hospitals," the bench added. The bench was dealing with a PIL filed by Omim Manekshaw Debara, a social activist and president of an NGO, Confederate of Voluntary Association.
Adjudicating the PIL, the bench observed that: "This court is surprised that the hospitals are collecting phenomenal amounts from COVID-19 patients. Newspapers had reported a case wherein a private hospital refused to hand over the body of a COVID patient to family as the bill was not paid. People are wondering as to what kind of private hospitals are being permitted to run by the Telangana government."
Debara sought a direction to the Telangana government to initiate action against the two corporate hospitals cited for not extending free treatment to COVID-19 patients coming from economically poor backgrounds and not reserving 50 per cent beds for them.
The bench directed the Registry, High Court, to tag the PIL along with a batch of already existing 18 PILs on COVID-19. It adjourned the case to August 13 for further adjudication.