Pvt hospital bill sent to select panel

Pvt hospital bill sent to select panel
Faced with stiff resistance from the Opposition parties in the legislative Assembly, the state government on Tuesday agreed to refer the controversial bill to regulate private hospitals to the joint select committee of the legislature.

The committee will be asked to submit its report within a month. The panel will look into the doubts raised by the members and recommend modifications to the bill, Health and Family Welfare Minister K R Ramesh Kumar said after a lengthy debate on the bill.

Hundreds of doctors held a protest against the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, in Bengaluru recently.  

Earlier, the health minister made a strong pitch for passing the bill, contending that it is aimed at protecting gullible patients. “The poor patients are not as organised as those who are staging protests (doctors). So it is the duty of the government to protect their (patients’) interest. I am flooded with complaints of excess-billing, repetitive tests and over-pricing of drugs. The government does not intend to trouble anybody,” he said, explaining the statement and objectives of the bill.

The minister said the government has decided to do away with the clause that stipulated imprisonment up to three years for those who violate provisions of the bill .
 
He also  assured that the cost of treatment will not be fixed arbitrarily. An expert committee comprising all the stakeholders will be formed to fix the rates, he added.

The bill seeks to regulate private medical establishments and not the doctors, as has been projected. “The government is giving more than Rs 1,000 crore to the private hospitals to treat the poor patients under various schemes. Many of the private hospitals are over-billing. Hence, we want to regulate these hospitals,” he stated.

Ramesh Kumar said Karnataka Cancer Centre has claimed crores of rupees under the government-sponsored Suvarna Arogya Kavacha scheme by submitting fictitious bill. The hospital has been found guilty of 10 different charges. About 250 complaints have been received from patients against private hospitals in connection with lapses in implementing Arogya Kavacha scheme.

The government is the custodian of tax payers’ money. It cannot sit silent when the private hospitals are taking it for a ride, he added.
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