HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Thursday pointed out the State government’s partisan action against big private hospitals fleecing Covid patients. It expressed displeasure over the government’s failure to act against the errant hospitals, despite receiving complaints from the people.
“When the government could suspended the licences of Virinchi and Deccan hospitals, why has it not taken any action against hospitals such as Yashoda, Care, KIMS, Sunshine and so on, despite receiving numerous complaints with respect to Covid-19 treatment? About 33 complaints were received against Yashoda Hospital. Why has no action been taken,” a division bench questioned the government. It directed the State to submit a detailed report on the action taken against all erring hospitals.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, passed this order in a batch of PILs filed against exorbitant charges being collected by various private hospitals for Covid-19 treatment. Pursuant to an earlier direction, Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao filed a report before the court stating that 276 grievances had been registered regarding inappropriate and surplus billing. He stated that district officials had visited these hospitals to address the issue.
After issuing show-cause notices, explanations were received with regard to 154 grievances and the remaining 122 are yet to submit one. After revising the bills as per GOs 248 and 281, the excess amount reduced, especially in terms of room charges, consultation fee and the discounted bill, was cleared by the patients, he stated.
However, the bench was not satisfied with the above submissions. Advocate Pujitha, appearing for one of the petitioners, brought to the bench’s notice a recent Supreme Court order, wherein States had been directed to constitute an expert committee to deal with issues pertaining to overcharging by private hospitals and surprise inspections at hospitals, among others. The bench directed the Telangana government to submit a full-fledged report on all private hospitals which have complaints against them, and posted the matter to December 17.
‘Insurances being rejected’
Advocate Pujitha, appearing for one of the petitioners, informed the court that several private hospitals have not been issuing bills for the actual costs paid by Covid patients, but were giving bills only for the amount specified in the GOs. They are also not accepting insurance