Gauhati HC seeks govt reply on alleged denial by private hospitals to admit COVID patients
Gauhati High Court has sought a reply from the Assam government regarding an application by Lawyers Association, Guwahati, alleging that COVID-19 patients are being denied admission to private hospitals in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak heard advocate A. Chamuah on behalf of the Lawyers Association, which alleged that despite having insurance cover, COVID patients in the state were denied admission to private hospitals.
The advocate submitted that denial of admission of COVID patients to private hospitals was contrary to the directions issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) for hospitalisation of COVID patients through an order dated March 4, 2020.
“Where hospitalisation is covered in a product, insurers shall ensure that the cases related to COVID-19 shall be expeditiously handled,” IRDAI had ordered.
It further stated that costs of admissible medical expenses for treatment during the quarantine period shall be settled in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions of the policy contract and extant regulatory framework.
Advocate General D. Saikia, countering the allegations, submitted that nine private hospitals were contacted in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Bongaigaon and the response was that despite late payment in many cases, the hospitals have not denied admission to patients suffering from COVID, except in some cases where the employees of the hospital were also suffering from COVID.
The court has now asked the state government to file its reply within a week so that it is in a better position to examine the matter.
It has also directed Assistant Solicitor General of India, R.K.D Choudhury, to get instructions in this matter from IRDAI.
The bench also took into account the case of an old woman who was allegedly denied treatment for cancer as she was suffering from COVID.
The court was informed that the lady is presently in home isolation with her husband. It has sought a detailed reply to this effect within a week.
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)
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