Corporates can allot 2 pc of profits for hospital bills of needy: High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday suggested corporate companies to allot two per cent of their profits towards settling hospital bills of patients who cannot afford to pay.

The suggestion was made by a division bench of justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere while hearing a petition filed by a man named Sanjay Prajapati urging the court to direct the city police to initiate action against doctors and staff of SevenHills Hospital here for wrongfully confining his brother over a disputed bill.

The petitioner said his brother Chinku suffered head injuries after a fall at home on March 29, 2014, and was admitted to SevenHills Hospital where he was operated upon. Prajapati later wrote to the CEO alleging improper treatment and bogus billings, but got no response. Finding no improvement in his brother's condition, he decided to shift him elsewhere but the hospital refused to discharge him till the disputed bills were cleared.

According to Prajapati, out of a total bill of Rs 4.56 lakh, Rs 2.76 lakh was deposited and according to the hospital a balance of Rs 1.80 lakh was payable.

The high court had on the last hearing said that such practices are increasing and need to be stopped. The bench today suggested companies which set aside funds towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to consider giving two per cent of their profits towards payment of hospital bills where the patients are poor and not in a position to pay.

"This will serve a dual purpose. The patient and his or her family is helped out and the hospital also gets its fees," the court said. Prosecutor Mankuvar Deshmukh told the court that the government is planning to come out with the Maharashtra Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulations) Act by which charges levied for medical treatments in both government and private hospitals will be regularised.

The court has posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks.

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