In a step to make healthcare affordable, the Karnataka government has decided to fix rates for different types of treatments and bed charges in private hospitals and nursing homes. The bill which empowers the state government to fix rates, also talks about imprisonment or penalty in case of violation of the rule.
The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2017, was tabled in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Tuesday (13 June) .
Mumbai doctors said capping treatment and bed charges is not a practical solution. “It is not practical and workable. This step is a populist measure. The experience of the doctor or infrastructure of the hospital is not been taken into consideration. There should be transparency on the charges instead,” said Dr Sudhir Nail, Chairman of the Medico-Legal Cell, AMC.
The Karnataka government will fix rates or charges for medical investigation, bed charges, operation theatre procedure, intensive care, ventilation and consultation.
According to the Bill, the person who runs the hospital will be held responsible for violations and minimum penalty has been fixed at Rs 25,000 and imprisonment of not less than three months.
Dr Shivkumar Utture, member of Indian Medical Association said there are court judgements that government cannot control charges of professional.
“Charges of any doctor depends on his/her qualification, seniority and special expertise. Also, the patient should be given the choice of selecting the doctor and the hospital after s/he is being informed about the medical charges and treatment cost. Transparency is important,” said Dr Utture.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra government is yet to implement the Clinical Establishments Act, which provides for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in India and verifies degrees of doctors. The central government had enacted the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act in 2010 to bring in minimum standard of services by clinical establishments across India.