Belagavi: After much heated debate and opposition by doctors, a diluted version of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with imprisonment clauses against doctors being dropped, was tabled in the Legislative Assembly yesterday. It, however, includes a clause on levying of penalty and even cancellation of registration in case of non-compliance.
The modified Bill empowers Govt. to fix uniform package rates for treatment and procedures under its health insurance schemes, but not across all categories. It says that hospitals have to hand over bodies of the deceased patients to next of kin without insisting on payment of dues.
The Bill has done away with the proposed provisions on imprisonment, which had seen protests by doctors, but envisages levying of penalty in case of non-compliance to Patients’ Charter and Private Medical Establishment’s Charter in the schedule to KPME Act.
Health and Family Welfare Minister K.R. Ramesh Kumar tabled the KPME (Amendment) Bill. The Bill was drafted based on the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee of the Legislature and on discussions with delegates of doctors’ associations.
The Bill seeks to reconstitute the Registration and Grievance Redressal Authority in each district. The five-member authority will be headed by the Deputy Commissioner.
The District Health and Family Welfare Officer will act as Member-Secretary, while the district AYUSH officer, one member of the Indian Medical Association, and one woman representative, will be the other members.
The authority has been given powers to impose penalties of up to Rs. 50,000 and to cancel registration if the establishment does not comply with the law. It has the power to impose a penalty equivalent to one-and-a-half times the overcharged amount, after giving the establishment an opportunity of being heard.
The Bill envisages transparency in the display of rates at private medical establishments. It insists on providing emergency treatment when required, without insisting on payment of advance from patients or representatives of patients in specified cases. It also enhances certain monetary penalties that may be levied.