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Supreme Court raises concerns about Govt's attempt to regulate patient care rates in private institutions

01:54 AM Apr 30, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
supreme court raises concerns about govt s attempt to regulate patient care rates in private institutions
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New Delhi, Apr 29:  The Supreme Court has sparked debate over the feasibility of implementing uniform rates in private hospitals across India.

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Bar and Bench reported that during a session presided over by Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, the Court raised concerns about the government's attempt to regulate rates for patient care in private healthcare institutions. The Court questioned whether such regulations should be dictated by market dynamics rather than government intervention.

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In response to a petition challenging government regulation on uniform rates for ophthalmological procedures, the Court issued a notice to the Central government. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing one of the parties, criticized the regulations, describing them as "completely out of hand."

Attorney General for India R Venkataramani appeared for the Central government, while Senior Advocate Maninder Singh represented the Indian Medical Association, and Senior Advocate Harish Salve represented a group of private hospitals.

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The Court's scrutiny of uniform rates in private hospitals follows previous concerns expressed by another Bench regarding private hospitals failing to fulfil commitments to reserve beds for economically weaker sections, despite receiving subsidized land. Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Prasanna B Varale had remarked on the disparity between promises made by private hospitals and their actual practices.

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The debate extends beyond ophthalmological procedures, with considerations about the practicality of imposing uniform rates across diverse regions. The All India Ophthalmological Society, in its petition, highlighted the challenges of implementing uniform rates, especially in metropolitan cities versus remote villages.

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The Court's deliberation on this matter has broader implications for healthcare policy and regulation in India. The session, which was tagged with a pending case related to hospital treatment rates under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, underscores the complexity of balancing affordability and quality in healthcare services nationwide.

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