Amidst coronavirus pandemic, there are many private hospitals which are not ready to admit corona patients and if they are admitting corona patients, their fees are very high that discourages the patients to go to any hospital, which is a great threat for the country as it will increase the spread of this fatal virus.
When the issue came to the notice of honorary Supreme Court, on Wednesday asked the Centre to identify private hospitals where Covid-19 infected patients could get treatment for free or at a nominal price. Many private hospitals got the land for free or at a very nominal price. Thus, as told by solicitor general Tushar Mehta, a bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde comprises of A. S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said that “Identify all those hospitals and find out”. After which the bench postponed the matter for hearing after one week.
The bench was set up after the plea of advocate Sachin Jain, which alleged that private hospitals are “commercially exploiting” patients suffering from the coronavirus in this pandemic. According to the petition, the government should mandate private hospitals that are running on public land allotted at concessional rates or running under the category of charitable institutions at least for the present, treat COVID- 19 patients either for the public good or on a no-profit basis.
The government should take care especially of those people who do not have registration under “Ayushman Bharat” or who don’t have any type of medical insurance and even if they have the insurance the cost of treatment surpasses the insurance plan. The plea also said that the Centre in the exercise of power under the Disaster Management Act, has regulated the cost of tests for COVID-19 in private hospitals, and on the same analogy, the government can also regulate the cost of treatment in private hospitals to combat the pandemic.
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On the contrary, private hospitals are arguing that if the government takes any step to force us to treat corona patients, it will not be suitable for us in the future. We cannot bear the cost, but if the government can bear the cost than we don’t have any problem. Alok Roy, Chairman of Ficci, Health Service Committee said that “If the government can take care of our costs, we are happy to treat patients for free, Hospitals are already under stress and they are not making money in COVID, we have to pay salaries, buy protective equipment, at this rate, it will be hard for the healthcare sector to survive”.
According to the other hospitals, any move taken in this path will further accentuate the situation for the private hospitals. They are complaining that there is no adequate support from the government in any form.
This is a time of crisis for the whole country, private hospitals should voluntarily come forward to support the government and treat the sufferers. But it seems like for the private sector hospitals human lives are at a very low position in the priority list.