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Max Health, Fortis, Apollo shares drop 9% over SC rates ultimatum

Shares of hospital chains saw a sharp selloff Thursday, slumping up to 8 per cent on the BSE. This followed Supreme Court’s warning to centre that it could direct implementation of Central Government Health Services (CGHS)-prescribed standardised rates for treatment charges across India, if the government fails to specify the range of rates till the court’s next hearing. The BSE Healthcare index was the top loser among sectoral indices, down 1.6 per cent intra-day, led by losses in Max Healthcare, which tumbled 8.6 per cent to a one-month low. Medanta, Rainbow Children Medicare, Shalby, Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare and newly listed GPT Healthcare fell 2-8 per cent in intra-day trade on BSE.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO ‘Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life’, the Supreme Court slammed the centre on Wednesday for failing to specify the range of rates within which private hospitals can charge for their treatment services, reported LiveLaw.

The plea filed by the NGO has sought the enforcement of a rule that mandates hospitals and clinical establishments to display rates for services and charge fees within a specified range determined by the Centre in consultation with state governments. This is in light of the wide disparity between treatment and service costs charged by private and government hospitals. As per Times of India, a cataract surgery could cost up to Rs 10,000 per eye in a govt hospital and Rs 30,000-1,40,000 in a private facility.

The Supreme Court has directed the Union health secretary to convene a meeting with states within a month to devise a proposal by the next date of hearing on notifying standard rates. If the Centre fails to do so, the court said it would consider the NGO’s suggestion to notify the standardised rates applicable to the CGHS-empanelled hospitals as an interim measure. Business Standard

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