Govt to fix rates in pvt hospitals

Govt to fix rates in pvt hospitals

The Karnataka government is all set to fix rates for different types of treatments and bed charges in private hospitals and nursing homes. If rules are violated, it would attract imprisonment or penalty.

A bill which empowers the state government to fix rates was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, piloted by Health and Family Welfare Minister K R Ramesh Kumar, may come up for discussion on Wednesday.

The bill provides for imposing a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh and imprisonment up to three years if hospitals/nursing homes collect charges higher than that fixed by the state government.

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.

The government will fix rates or charges for medical investigation, bed charges, operation theatre procedure, intensive care, ventilation and consultation.

 The state government will fix the rates based on the recommendations of expert committees. These committees will classify hospitals taking into account the infrastructure in the private medical establishments. 

No advance payment
The bill restricts hospitals from demanding advance payment from patients in case of emergency treatment. In case of death of a patient, hospitals will have to hand over the body of the deceased immediately without insisting on payment of dues. The dues can be recovered from representatives of the deceased at a later date.

The bill also provides for constitution of District or Metropolitan Grievance Redressal Committee for redressal of grievances of patients. The panel will be headed by the chief executive officer of the zillapanchayat of the district and include the superintendent of police, one representative of private hospital, district surgeon, public prosecutor and woman representative nominated by the government as its members.

On receiving a complaint, the panel will have the powers to inspect the hospital, hold an enquiry and issue orders which will have to be followed within a specified time.

Charter
The bill has a schedule entitled “Patient’s charter and Establishment charter” which lists out the responsibilities of patients and hospitals.

According to the charter, every patient has a right to receive treatment, be heard by the doctor, get a prescription with an explanation on details of dosage, dos and don’ts, privacy during examination and confidentiality about the medical condition. Patients have the right to request access and receive a copy of their clinical records, expected cost of treatment, seek second opinion on medical condition, among others.

Patients’ responsibilities include being honest with the doctor, be punctual with appointments, do best to comply with doctor’s treatment plan, respect the doctors and medical staff. Hospital charter includes providing a printed schedule of fee for office visits, procedures, testing, surgery and provide itemised bills.

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