SC asks if private hospitals ready to charge Covid-19 patients at Ayushman Bharat rate

By: |
Published: June 6, 2020 3:45 AM

Besides industry group Healthcare Federation of India and private hospitals, a Bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked the government to share its view on free treatment in two weeks.

However, the apex court clarified that it is not asking private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients for freeHowever, the apex court clarified that it is not asking private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients for free

The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from private hospitals if they can treat coronavirus patients at the fee charged under the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. The scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017 provides health cover to poor and vulnerable persons.

Besides industry group Healthcare Federation of India and private hospitals, a Bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked the government to share its view on free treatment in two weeks.

When senior advocate Harish Salve, who represented the healthcare group, said earnings of private hospitals have fallen by up to 70% as people are not coming to hospitals, the Chief Justice asked: “That is all right. You are making a sacrifice for a good cause… Are you agreeable to charge Ayushman (Bharat) rates from patients?”

However, the apex court clarified that it is not asking private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients for free, but is telling only such organizations which have been given land at concessional rates to treat a certain number of patients for free. “I just want to know if hospitals are ready to charge at Ayushman rates?” the CJI asked.

Salve said footfalls in private hospitals have reduced by more than 60% and revenue is down by around 60-70%. He also submitted that private healthcare providers are providing highly-subsidised service under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for private hospitals, said these hospitals cannot charge the much-lower Ayushman Bharat rates from those who are not covered by the policy. He said none of the private hospitals in the country is making profit and even a super speciality hospital like Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has been converted into a general Covid-19 hospital.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the apex court that the government is doing its best and people who cannot afford treatment are covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Citing Ayushman Bharat, Mehta said the scheme was devised after identifying the people who are not able to afford private healthcare. He strongly objected to the suggestion by the petitioner that the government is for the profitability of the private hospitals on the issue.

In a related petition, the SC sought the Centre’s response on fixing of price cap for Covid-19 treatment by private hospitals. The court said it cannot order charitable, private hospitals for free treatment as no provision in law mandates free treatment by private hospitals.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Pained by tragic demise of Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan: PM Modi
2Centre’s decision to allow private players in coal sector brings RSS affiliate, Congress and Left on same page
3True leadership in action: JP Nadda on PM’s visit to Ladakh