Nandita Vijay Bengaluru
Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 08:00 Hrs [IST]
The Karnataka government’s move to amend ‘The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act’ 2007 is a step in the right direction as it is in the interest of patients, said Dr. BR Jagashetty, former National Adviser (Drugs Control) to MoHFW & CDSCO and former Karnataka state drugs controller.
From inclusion of prescription audit, formation of an expert committee to fix the hospital charges, to ‘Patient’s charter and Establishment charter’ which lists out the responsibilities of both hospitals and patients along with release of body of the deceased patient immediately without insisting on payment of dues are pertinent moves in the context of the current healthcare services, he added.
“There is no need for a hue and cry by corporate hospitals to bring in the government healthcare providers under the purview of this Act when the said law is already in existence and now only the amendments to existing Bill is being considered. In the definition on private medical establishment in the Karnataka Medical Establishments Act 2007, under Section 2(n) includes nursing homes, radiology centres, pathology labs, physiotherapy centres along with blood banks. Now a blood bank cannot be brought under the definition of this Act because these are facilities set up only after a stringent approval process by the Karnataka drugs control department which issues licenses for its establishment based on certain criteria and regulates its activities as stipulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and rules there under. Therefore it would be far more appropriate to delete ‘blood bank’ from the definition under Section 2(n) of KPME Act, noted Dr. Jagashetty.
The government has also included the state drug controller also as a Member of Appellate Authority along with the Director of Ayush which is laudable, he said. Justifying the indispensability of state drugs controller on the Appellate body, Dr. Jagashetty said medicines are core and a critical component in healthcare space. From not-of-standard quality drugs to adverse drug reaction monitoring, the state drugs controller has a key role to play.
Another commendable move by the Karnataka government is to create the Experts Committees to discharge the functions like laying down minimum standards of infrastructure, staffing and prescription audit etc along with various others.
The fixation of price by government body is most welcome going by the current exorbitant medical expenses incurred by patients following the high charges levied by private players. There is no reason for these medical facilities to be sore and upset on fixing the rates for treatment and surgical interventions among others. The committee is there to study and fix the rates, he said.
With regards to the fines and imprisonment which are legal issues, all of these were already there in the existing KPME Act, 2007. The only difference is the penalty is increased from Rs.10,000 to ranging from Rs.25,000 to Rs.5 lakh. Now the private players are stressing on these issues unnecessarily, Dr. Jagashetty stated