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SC to Centre: Take call on standard hospital charges or we may slap CGHS rates

Feb 28,2024

NEW DELHI: A cataract surgery could cost up to Rs 10,000 per eye in a govt hospital and Rs 30,000-1,40,000 in a private facility. Supreme Court Tuesday took strong exception to this disparity and inability of the Centre to implement a 14-year-old law-Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules-mandating notification of a standard rate in consultation with states for treatment and procedures of ailments in metros, cities and towns.

Govt told SC though it had repeatedly written to states on this, they didn’t respond. SC said citizens have a fundamental right to healthcare and the Centre can’t shirk its responsibility on this ground.

It asked Union health secretary to call a meeting of his state counterparts to ensure notification of a standard rate within a month. “If Union govt fails to find a solution, then we will consider petitioner’s plea for implementing CGHS-prescribed standardised rates,” SC warned.

A PIL by NGO ‘Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life’ through advocate Danish Zubair Khan had sought a direction to Centre to determine rate of fee chargeable from patients in terms of Rule 9 of Clinical Establishment (Central Govt) Rules, 2012.

Under the Rules, all hospitals and clinical establishments, to keep intact their registration, must “display rates charged for each type of service provided and facilities available for benefit of patients at a conspicuous place in vernacular as well as in English language; and charge rates for each type of procedures and services within range of rates determined and issued by Centre from time to time, in consultation with state govts.”

Petitioner told a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta that Centre acted promptly in notifying standardised rates for treatment of patients during Covid and that if states did not cooperate in framing range of rates for treatment of ailments, it could use powers under central laws to unilaterally notify fees to be charged for different procedures.

Source: TOI

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