Ayushman Bharat to cover such tests at pvt hospitals/labs
The Supreme Court on Monday modified its April 8 order in which it had directed that free testing should be undertaken by the Government as well as private laboratories, saying such a facility would be available only to the people covered under the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ or any other scheme.
In its modified order, a Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat said private labs can continue to charge the payment for testing of Covid-19 from persons who are able to make payment of testing fee as fixed by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
The ICMR has fixed Rs 4,500 for coronavirus testing.
The apex court said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may issue necessary guidelines for reimbursement of cost of free treating of Covid undertaken by private labs and necessary mechanism to defray expenses and reimbursement to the private labs.
The Bench left it to the Centre to decide whether any other categories of the weaker sections of society should also be given the benefit of free testing. The Bench passed the modified order in an application filed by Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, who said direction for free testing will affect the functioning of private labs.
Earlier, the ICMR in an affidavit stated that the Prime Minister Jan Arogya Yojana, popularly known as Ayushman Bharat scheme, covered 10.74 crore families, meaning 50 crore people.
The ICMR has urged the Supreme Court to withdraw its free coronavirus test order, as it is aiming to scale up the tests in association with private labs, from 10,000 to 15,000 per day to one lakh per day. The ICMR insisted the free-of-cost interim order passed on April 8, may work to the detriment of the cause the country is fighting.
The ICMR said the decision to involve private labs in the process of testing was taken after extensive deliberation with the national task force on all aspects.
Tuesday, 14 April 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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