COVID-19: Look into overcharging by private hospitals, HC directs govt.

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to ensure that private hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 patients display the rates fixed by the State government in June 2020 and look into the allegation that some private hospitals are charging higher rates to treat COVID-19 patients.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar passed the order while hearing a PIL petition complaining about irregularities in selection of private hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

The Bench also directed the government to ensure that the designated private hospitals do not make COVID-19 patients, referred by the public authorities, pay any charges, including for PPE kits and other consumables, and ensure that the hospitals display availability of this facility. The government has been directed to make available a grievance redressal mechanism for COVID-19 patients for complaining about charging excess rates. The Bench also asked the government to inform the court the mechanism for reimbursing the claims of charges by the private hospitals for treating the patients.

The Bench also asked the government to file an affidavit giving the time schedule and quantity of foodgrains to be supplied to students in lieu of the midday meal.

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Sagar Biswas

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