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Hospitals should notify cost of treatment in advance, says HC

Hospitals should notify the cost of treatment to patients in advance or display the rates on their notice boards instead of detaining inmates over non-payment of bills, the Bombay High Court has said, stressing the need for regulating hospitals to check vandalism.

“If the patients are made aware about the expenses that they would have to bear, they can easily decide which hospital they should go to. Ideally, most hospitals should display on boards about treatment costs.
“There are cases where doctors do not visit patients in hospital and yet the hospital charges them for the visit. Many a time, patients cannot afford to pay medical bills and may have to sell their valuables to settle their dues,” a division bench if the court said.

“There should be some regulation to control hospitals, otherwise the incidents of vandalism occur,” a bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said while referring to the damage caused to Singhania Hospital in Thane in 2001 by supporters of a political leader after his sudden death.
The court was hearing two petitions alleging detention of patients by Seven Hills hospital in suburban Andheri and Prachin Healthcare Multi-speciality hospital at Panvel in Raigad district.

The bench decided to treat the petitions as PIL to decide on introducing a mechanism to help the hospitals recover their dues and stop them from resorting to practices such as detaining patients or keeping back bodies for non-payment of bills.

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