The case came up when a public interest litigation was filed accusing private hospitals of fleecing patients.
Concerned over the high cost of Covid treatment at hospitals, a division bench of the Kerala high court asked the state government to find ways to reduce them as many ordinary citizens were unable to pay the hefty bills.
The court cited the comment by a Covid patient who had remarked: “it is easier to survive the shock of the disease than what is inflicted by hospital bills.” Hardworking citizens were torn between the social and emotional fallout of distance protocol and lockdown and the ‘excruciating load’ of treatment costs, it added.
It directed the government to control profiteering by hospitals. The case came up when a public interest litigation was filed accusing private hospitals of fleecing patients. The state’s attorney told the court that the government had fixed the costs to be charged by hospitals and they ranged from Rs2,300 for a general ward to Rs11,500 for ICU with ventilator. It would look at the possibility of a downward revision after discussing with all stakeholders including private hospitals.
Kerala continued to reel under the Covid crisis. The state reported almost 37,200 new cases on Friday, taking the total active cases to more than 303,000. Test positivity rate is almost at 25 per cent.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged citizens on Friday to use ‘double masking’ while venturing out. It would include a surgical mask and a cloth one. “Double masking and frequent hand hygiene would prevent infection in a big way,” he added.