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Detaining patients for unpaid bills is illegal: High court

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The Bombay High Court today asserted that detaining a patient in hospital over unpaid bills is illegal, and "every member of public" must be made aware of this.

A bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre directed the health department of the Maharashtra government to publish on its website the legal rights of patients and the penal provisions that can be invoked against errant hospitals.

"How can a hospital detain a person who is declared fit otherwise on the ground of non-payment of fees? Such hospital is curtailing the personal liberty of a person.

"Every member of the public must be made aware that such action on the part of a hospital is illegal," the bench said.

The bench, however, refused to issue any specific regulatory order against hospitals, saying it is government's job.

"We can't commit a judicial overreach by issuing regulations on the issue. However, we must make it clear that we are sympathetic to the issue," it said.

Opining that the government should formulate a mechanism to protect such patients and their families, the bench said hospitals can always resort to legal remedies to recover their dues.

The high court was hearing a public interest litigation which cited two cases where patients were allegedly detained at private hospitals over disputed bills.



Well-known member
This will open a pandora's box as many patients would not pay their dues & then the Hospitals have to file cases to retrieve the dues!!


This is nothing new.

Way back in April a judgement on similar lines was issued by Delhi High Court.

Of course,some Insurance firm will try to make best use of this crisis for their growth and benefit..

[h=1]Hospitals can't hold patients hostage for unpaid bills: Delhi High Court[/h]NEW DELHI: Hospitals cannot hold patients "hostage" to extract money for unpaid bills, the Delhi High Court today told a premier private city hospital for allegedly withholding custody of a patient over outstanding dues.

Denouncing this "modus operandi" of withholding custody of patients, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Deepa Sharma said if the bills are not paid, then release the patient.

"If bills not paid, then release the patient. You cannot keep patients hostage. That cannot be the modus operandi.

"Even if dues are outstanding, custody of patients cannot be withheld to extract money towards unpaid bills (of the hospital). We deprecate this practice," the court told Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in central Delhi.

Read more at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com...lls-delhi-high-court/articleshow/58382491.cms
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