The Delhi government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that its decision to reserve 80% of ICU beds for Covid patients in the city’s private hospitals was a policy decision taken given the growing number of cases across the city . The government said the move was a temporary measure to mitigate the growing number of virus-related cases.
The court was hearing a petition challenging a Sept. 13 government order, directing all private hospitals that had a bed strength of 50 or more to reserve at least 80% of their total ICU bed strength for Covid-19 patients.
The prayer – presented by the Association of Health Insurers – had said the government move was a violation of the fundamental right of Delhi citizens.
The government told the court that the association was seeking to secure the financial interests of its member hospitals, under the guise of providing healthcare facilities for non-Covid patients. The government argued that the association was against booking beds as it wanted to admit critical Covid patients to their ICUs and impose arbitrary and excessive medical treatment fees and other such charges from them.
The Government also noted that not only did none of the subject hospitals raise any protests and / or objections to the decision, the fact was that almost all 33 private hospitals had started implementing the order with immediate effect.
HC then gave a week to the Association of Health Insurers, which claims that the 33 private hospitals against which the order was issued are its members, to present its response. The high court has asked the association to submit a response and will consider the case on the next date on November 18th.
The state government in their response also said that several other states like Maharashtra and Odisha have taken similar steps and put in place similar measures to combat the pandemic. She said they have adopted a dynamic practical approach to managing and mitigating this disaster.
He said that since certain private hospitals have been patients’ preferred choice, it has been found that they hardly have any free ICU beds available to Covid-19 patients. The government said there is a section of society – including those with health insurance, CGHS, DGHS and ECHS beneficiaries – who prefer admission to private hospitals despite the availability of beds in the government sector.
Despite repeated efforts, Girdhar Gyani, general director of the Association of Health Insurers was not available for comment.
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