On Monday (May 10, 2021), the Kerala High Court took exception to the exorbitant charges being levied by private hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients.
In the case, Adv Sabu P Joseph v. State of Kerala and others, the petitioner stated that the hospitals are engaging in a lot of ordinary citizens by charging high rates for treatment and services.
The Division Bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Dr.Kauser Edappagath orally cautioned hospitals to charge rates as notified by the State Government yesterday.
The Court pointed that as per the report of the District Medical Officer submitted in Court instance of a hospital in the Ernakulam district which was found to have levied high rates for its Covid treatment.
The Court cited an instance where rice gruel or kanji was charged at Rs. 1300. "Our humble kanji is being charged Rs. 1300", Justice Ramachandran pointed, clarifying that the rate was an extremely high.
"If Kanji is charged Rs 1300, we may find it difficult to swallow", Justice Ramachandran remarked.
The high court approved the state government order. As per the order, all private hospitals in the State of Kerala, with respect to the 50% beds reserved for Covid patients would be bound to offer treatment to such patients strictly as per rates stipulated in the Government Order and no private hospital shall be entitled to charge for drugs/PPE kits/essentials/oximeters, etc. more than cost price or actual rates.