HC questions Kerala govt rationale behind fixing rates for treating post COVID complications

Representative image | Photo: ANI

Kochi: When deaths even after 30 days of a person turning negative for coronavirus is treated as a COVID death, then by the same rationale treatment for post-COVID complications should also be reckoned as part of corona care was the prima facie view expressed by the Kerala High Court on Wednesday.

A bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath expressed the view while directing the state government to clarify why it issued the August 16 order by which treatment charges were fixed for post-COVID complications for those above poverty line. "Government must clarify why the order dated August 16, 2021 was issued, particularly when, as of now, deaths which occur 30 days after a person turns negative for COVID-19 is also accounted as a COVID death.

"On a parallel reasoning, treatment which goes on after a person turns negative, must, prima facie, be also reckoned as a COVID treatment," the bench said and asked government pleader S Kannan to seek instruction on the issue. The query by the court came after perusing a memo filed by the state government, through Kannan, stating therein that COVID infection and complications due to it are different from disease management point of view.

The government further said that "to reduce the financial burden on the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic and assist the financial constraints of the population, the rates at which the treatment for post COVID syndrome, multi-system inflammatory syndrome and COVID associated mucormycosis demands to be fixed". The rate fixation of these treatments would also ensure that the private hospitals in the state do not charge exorbitant rates from such patients, the government has said in the memo.

It has also said that cost of treatment for persons above the poverty line (APL) for any ailment has to be borne by the patients always, but considering the very high cost of treatment of complications due to COVID, treatment has to be made available to APL category patients at reasonable costs. It has further stated before the court that poor and financially constrained people can avail free treatment for post COVID complications at public hospitals.

The court was hearing a review petition filed by the Kerala Private Hospitals Association in relation to the COVID treatment charges fixed by the state for treatment of coronavirus in private hospitals. PTI

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