The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday told the Bombay High Court that while it does not have any control or authority over the financial management of private hospitals and nursing homes, it has, however, capped charges on bed and ICU for COVID-19 patients.
The BMC filed an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation filed by city resident Sarika Singh claiming private hospitals here were either not admitting COVID-19 patients, or were overcharging them for treatment.
The affidavit said the BMC, in coordination with private entities and NGOs, was taking every step and employing all resources available at its disposal to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and protect and preserve the health and safety of the citizens of Mumbai.
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"Regarding capping the amounts charged by private hospitals, the corporation does not have any control and/or authority over the financial management of private hospitals," the affidavit said.
It said the corporation had permitted private hospitals and nursing homes to provide isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients and was aware of the possibility that such hospitals would charge exorbitant prices from patients.
"To address this, a notice has been issued in April to all private nursing homes and hospitals providing isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients asking them to cap their bed charges. However, these hospitals will be allowed to charge medicine, pathology, radiology and other charges in the bill," the corporation said.
The affidavit said, as per guidelines, notifications issued by the Central and state governments, there are three types of facilities set up for COVID-19 patients and suspects.
"Covid Care Centres (CCC) are set up for mild or asymptomatic or COVID-19 suspect cases. These facilities are set up in hotels, hostels, schools and lodges. Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC) are set up for cases that are clinically assigned as moderate and Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH) are for those in the severe category," the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, presently there are 318 CCC facilities with 30,268 beds, 38 DCHC facilities with 11,098 beds and 76 DCH facilities with 10,203 beds.
The affidavit further said, as on May 23, there are 6,197 containment zones in the city, which are regularly supervised by the corporation.
"In addition to this, mobile medical vans are set up in high risk ward areas daily to provide accessible medical services. There are 13 such mobile medical vans operating in the city. The number of citizens who have availed services through these vans are 23,591," the corporation said in its affidavit.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta posted the petition for hearing on June 2.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.