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Revealing Treatment Costs: Hospitals’ Association Moves Kerala HC

The Kerala high court on Wednesday asked the state government not to take coercive action against hospitals that haven’t registered as per the Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2018 for the time being. Justice Anu Sivaraman issued the directive after considering during admission hearing a petition (WP-C No. 1365/2019) filed by Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA) through advocate Tony George Kannanthanam. In the petition filed by KPHA and its member Hussain Koya Thangal, who is chairman of NIMS Hospital at Wandoor in Malappuram, it is demanded that three provisions of the Act should be declared as arbitrary and violative of the Constitution. A declaration that members of KPHA are not liable to furnish the data called for in one of the forms required to be furnished as per the rules is also sought. The provisions being challenged are section 16(2) and section 39(2 and 3) of the Act.

According to the petition, the hospitals were required to furnish data about expenses for each treatment and details of all employees, including doctors and paramedical staff, in the application form for registration under the Act. KPHA has 1212 clinical establishments as its members, the petition said. As per section 16(2), no clinical establishment is allowed to operate without registration. Section 39(2 and 3) mandates displaying the rate and package rate charged for each type of treatment and the facilities available, said the petition. KPHA has contended that it is impossible to comply with section 39, which mandates displaying rates of treatment, as types of service and package are not defined in the Act or the rules framed under it. It is also contended by KPHA that the provisions under challenge and the data required to be submitted violate right to equality and right to carry on any occupation, trade, or business. – TOI