MLAs oppose present version of pvt hospitals bill

MLAs oppose present version of pvt hospitals bill

Almost all MLAs who are medical doctors by profession on Tuesday opposed the controversial bill to regulate private hospitals in its present form and suggested to the government to conduct wider consultations in this regard.

Participating in a discussion on the bill in the Assembly, Dr A B Maalakaraddy (Congress) said doctors are already working under immense pressure. Vested interests will make use of the bill to harass them. It will become impossible for doctors to function if their concerns are not addressed, he warned.
“The bill has created an atmosphere of fear. The government should tread cautiously in this regard. We must do it without hurting the sentiments of the doctors...The Minister (Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar) should not get emotional. His intentions are good,” Maalakaraddy, who is a former health minister, stated.

Dr Shivaraj Patil (JD-S) warned that doctors will not be able to function if the bill is given effect in its present form. Dr C N Ashwath Narayan (BJP) suggested that the government hold consultations with doctors and address their concerns. Otherwise, the government will not be able to protect the interests of the poor patients. It is appropriate to refer the bill to the joint select committee, he added.

Besides, BJP MLA S Suresh Kumar said there are a lot of apprehensions about the bill. Incidents of attacks on doctors have increased of late. Nobody is doubting the government’s intentions. But it should not result in unnecessary harassment of doctors, he added.

Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar said the government should submit before the House the full report of the Justice Vikramajit Sen committee that recommended measures to be taken to regulate medical establishments. The committee had in its report suggested that all medical establishments, including that of the government, should be brought under the purview of the bill, he added.

Almost all BJP members, including Shettar, demanded that the government should refer the bill to the joint select committee.

However, some members of the JD(S) spoke in favour of the bill.

Bill aims to regulate pvt medical establishments and not doctors.
Rate for treatments will not be fixed arbitrarily; an expert committee comprising all stakeholders will be formed for this purpose.
Imprisonment clause for violations dropped.
Many pvt hospitals are over-billing, conducting repetitive tests and over-pricing drugs.
Some pvt hospitals are claiming refund by submitting fictitious bills to the govt.
Govt hospitals are already regulated and hence, no need to bring them under the bill.
West Bengal govt has enacted harsher legislation in this regard.

Counter argument

Harassment of doctors will increase as vested interests may misuse certain provisions.
Attacks on doctors will increase and, in turn, the poor patients will be affected.
Govt medical establishments should also be brought under the purview of the bill.
Submit the full report of Justice Vikramajit Sen report in the House.
The bill has created an atmosphere of fear and hence, it needs wider consultation.

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