Heal thee first, govt tells private hospitals

Healthcare facilities in State told to follow rules or shut up shop

Armed with the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act, 2007, the department has started initiating action against establishments that have failed to adhere to the stipulated standards or register themselves under the Act.

The department has so far issued notices to 828 private health facilities across the State for violating the various provisions of the Act.

The registration applications of about 341 establishments have been rejected, directing them to permanently stop their operations.

Private medical establishments, including clinics, diagnostic centres and alternative medicine centres, were supposed to register before the district-level regulatory committee before October 24, 2010. But only 3,676 private medical establishments, out of an estimated 30,000 in the State, registered themselves before the deadline.

The Bangalore Urban district alone has 900 such establishments. The Act aims to regulate these establishments and ensure that people get quality healthcare.

The Act has stipulated minimum standards in terms of physical infrastructure, technical knowhow and staff qualification to set up a private healthcare institution. It is also mandatory for private hospitals to display rate charts.

The Act covers all forms of medicines — allopathy, ayurveda, unani and homoeopathy. Official sources said the powerful lobby of private establishments had been against the implementation of the Act, right from the beginning. Hence, there was a delay in its implementation, though it was passed in 2007.

The rules were notified in October 2009, after a delay of two years. The department had initially given three months’ time — from October 2009 to January 2010 — for the establishments to register themselves. But the response was abysmally poor. The deadline was extended to October 2010, officials sources said.

Secretary to Health and Family Welfare department, E V Ramana Reddy, said directions had been issued to all district-level committees to initiate action against establishments that had not registered under the Act.

The department had received 22,643 applications till October 24, 2010. About 17,093 applications are being processed. As many as 5,102 establishments have been registered till February 2011.

“There is no proposal to further extend the deadline. Action will be taken against the erring establishments as per the provisions of the Act,” he said.

Before issuing the registration certificate, the district-level regulatory committee will inspect the establishment. The certificate will be issued only if stipulated minimum standards are fulfilled.

The registration will be valid for a period of five years. Different registration fees are fixed for the different forms of medicine. Any individual running a private medical establishment without registration is liable for imprisonment up to three years and a maximum fine of Rs 10,000. Besides, the department can order closure of the establishment under the Act.

KPME Act says...

* Private medical establishments should register themselves with the district-level regulatory committee

* Should display rate charts for treatments offered

* Ensure clean and hygienic surroundings, proper lighting, ventilation, adequate/hygienic sanitation facility, standard bio-medical waste disposal system and qualified staff proportional to the number of patients treated in a day

Registration

* 26,748 applications sold

* 22,643 applications received

* 5,102 establishments registered

* 17,093 applications pending

* 341 applications rejected

* Notice issued to 828 establishments for violations

(All figures till February 2011)

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