They call Bill ‘draconian’; it allows govt. to fix rates for procedures
Upset over the amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act, 2007, under which the government will fix rates for various procedures in private hospitals and penalise those flouting it, associations of private medical establishments and nursing homes in Karnataka have planned a ‘Bangalore Chalo’ on June 16.
The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, has kept government hospitals out of the purview of the legislation, setting aside the recommendation of the Justice Vikramajit Sen committee. The committee, appointed in July 2016 to draft amendments to regulate the healthcare system in the State, had said that there cannot be two sets of rules for private and government hospitals.
Terming the amended Bill as “draconian”, the associations have demanded that the amendments be dropped before it is approved in the legislature. A team of doctors, who submitted a memorandum to Health Minister K.R. Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday, have also planned to meet Governor Vajubhai R. Vala and seek his intervention. “If the government does not agree to our demand, we will come out with a resolution on the future course of action on June 16,” said H.N. Ravindra, president-elect of the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) State unit. He said representatives of private medical establishments will assemble at the city railway station in Majestic on June 16 and march to Freedom Park in protest against the move.
The Bill, when passed by the legislature, will enable the government to regulate private hospitals in all aspects. It envisages setting up of an expert committee that would classify private medical establishments and recommend the State government to fix the cost of treatment for different medical services. “Every private medical establishment shall follow the rates as fixed by the government and this includes package rates for investigation, bed charges, operation theatre procedures, intensive care, ventilation, implants, consultation and any additional treatments,” the Bill stated.
Prohibiting private hospitals from imposing additional charges over and above the rates fixed by the government “unless explained to and consented to by the patient”, the Bill has mooted the setting up of a district and metropolitan grievance redressal committee to look into the complaints against or lapses on the part of the private hospitals.
The Bill mandates private hospitals to first hand over the dead body to a family and later collect the dues payable to it. It also prohibits private hospitals from demanding advance payments from patients or the family in case of emergency treatments.
Activists and members of like-minded groups led by the Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali and the Alternative Law Forum have welcomed the move to keep government hospitals out of the purview of the Act.