In a complaint to the CCI, an individual had alleged that on direction by the association all the private hospitals had withdrawn cashless medical facility available to Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) beneficiaries.

Saying that the act was a collusive decision, the complaint had alleged the entities of violating competition norms including cartelisation.
     
In a recent order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that "the allegations cited by the informant in the present case do not amount to cartelisation since the majority of the private hospitals did not comply with the instructions of the said circular issued by opposite party 1 (Association of Healthcare Providers) and continued to provide cashless medical facility to CGHS beneficiaries".

"Further, Ministry of Health had taken cognizance of the matter with the hospitals that have stopped cashless medical facility, the Commission feels that given the facts of the case, its intervention at this stage is not required," the fair trade regulator added.
      
The case relates to the circular issued by the association which contained instructions in the form of an appeal to all its member hospitals to stop cashless medical facility being provided by them to the CGHS beneficiaries with effect from March 7, 2014.
      
According to the complaint, pursuant to the circular all the private hospitals in Hyderabad withdrew the cashless medical facility.
      
However, CCI noted from a health ministry press release that 24 out of 407 private hospitals, empanelled under CGHS, had discontinued the cashless facility.
     
The press release had further mentioned that these hospitals decided unilaterally to discontinue credit facility to the eligible categories of CGHS beneficiaries.
     
"Therefore, it appears that the instructions issued by opposite party 1 were not backed by any sanction imposable on member hospitals for non-compliance of directions of opposite party 1," the order said.

 

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