COVID-19: HC Allows Woman to Give Representation to Authorities on Overcharging by Private Hospitals

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The Delhi High Court has allowed a woman to give representation to the authorities disclosing the instances of private hospitals overcharging patients under various heads in the garb of COVID 19 pandemic.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of the plea as withdrawn granting liberty to the petitioner to prefer a representation disclosing instances as to how much and under which head a particular hospital is overcharging from the patients.

As and when such representation is received, the same will be decided by the concerned respondent authorities in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policies applicable to the facts of the case, the bench said during the hearing conducted via video conferencing.

Petitioner Kuhu Mohan Bhatnagar contended that people are being overcharged by private super speciality hospitals in the garb of on-going COVID-19 crisis, in the name of PPE kits, isolation charges, sanitation and hygiene charges, bio waste disposal charges and this has become an additional burden on patients in these challenging times when people are facing a financial crisis in view of the lockdown.

She had sought a direction to the Centre, represented through Central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul, and Delhi government to issue directions to the private hospitals not to charge the patients for PPE kits or other COVID-19 essentials or disposables.

The plea, filed through advocate N K Bhatnagar, had also sought to direct the governments to issue directions to the private hospitals to immediately stop overcharging the non-C-19ovid patients in the name of isolation charges and put a cap or upper limit on such charges.

The woman narrated her ordeal saying she has experienced the sudden hike in hospital fees and procedural charges while she was pregnant and was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Dwarka.

She said in view of the increased charges, she had to shift to a smaller hospital at the 11th hour where she delivered a child during the lockdown on May 15, after which she filed the petition.

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