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Supreme Court’s Directive on Medical Procedure Rates



  Mar 05, 2024

Supreme Court’s Directive on Medical Procedure Rates


 
What prompted the Supreme Court to issue a directive on medical procedure rates?

The Supreme Court issued the directive in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the NGO Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, highlighting discrepancies in medical treatment costs between private and state-run hospitals and the government’s failure to implement the Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules.
 
What are the Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules?

The Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules, established in 2012, empower the central government to notify standard rates for medical procedures and treatments, considering the living standards of different regions across the country.
 
How will the Supreme Court’s directive affect private hospitals?

The directive mandates private hospitals to adhere to a standardized rate for medical procedures, as determined in consultation with states and union territories. Failure to comply could result in the enforcement of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) rates as an interim measure.
 
What concerns have been raised by healthcare providers?

Healthcare providers, represented by the Association of Healthcare Providers (India) (AHPI), have expressed concerns about the feasibility of implementing uniform rates across diverse healthcare settings. They suggest developing costs for procedures based on scientific principles and allowing for variations to address different categories of establishments.
 
What is the stance of the healthcare industry on this directive?

Some industry stakeholders argue that standardized pricing might compromise healthcare quality, reduce patient choice, and deter skilled doctors from practicing in India. They advocate for investing in public healthcare infrastructure and promoting health insurance as more effective solutions.
 
What are the potential benefits of this directive?

The directive aims to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for all Indians by ensuring transparency in medical procedure rates and reducing the financial burden on patients.
 
What challenges does the directive pose?

Implementing the directive nationwide is challenging due to the variance in healthcare infrastructure, the cost of medical procedures across regions, and the need for a comprehensive scientific study to establish a fair pricing model.
 
What are the next steps following the Supreme Court’s directive?

The Department of Health has been instructed to collaborate with states and union territories to create a proposal for standardized medical procedure rates within six weeks from the date of the directive.
 
How will patients benefit from this directive?

Patients stand to benefit from greater transparency in healthcare pricing and potentially lower costs for medical treatments, making healthcare more equitable across different economic backgrounds.
 
Is there a possibility of legislative changes following this directive?

The implementation of uniform rates across all Indian states and union territories may require amendments to existing legislation, considering that only 12 states and seven Union territories have adopted the Clinical Establishment Act as of now.

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