Ready to charge Covid-19 patients at Ayushman Bharat rate:SC asks private hospitals after plea

Ready to charge Covid-19 patients at Ayushman Bharat rate:SC asks private hospitals after plea

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday said it is considering a plea to cap upper limit price or fee charged by private hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients.

The top court asked private hospitals if they are ready to provide treatment to such patients as prescribed under the government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, which is aimed at providing health cover to poor and vulnerable citizens in India.

"I just want to know if hospitals are ready to charge at Ayushman rates?," the CJI observed during the hearing held via video conferencing.

A three-judge bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, has issued a notice to the central government in this regard and sought answers.

The court was hearing a petition seeking a bill to limit the treatment cost for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals.

The SC will hear the matter after a week again.

The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bodde, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, said it is only asking private hospitals which have been given land at concessional rates by the government to treat a certain number of Covid-19 patients for free.

Appearing on behalf of the government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said health services should be monitored by respective states, but added that the Centre will look for solutions to solve the matter.

Mehta also told the bench that the government is doing its best for the poorer section of the society and people who cannot afford treatment are covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

It should be noted that the Tamil Nadu government has already fixed the maximum fee limit for treatment of coronavirus patients in different categories of hospitals under the Chief Minister Health Insurance Scheme.

Hospitals under category 1 and 2 can charge a maximum of Rs 10,000-Rs15,000 per day, while category 3 and 4 hospitals can charge somewhere between Rs 9,000-Rs 13,500 per day.