KPME Bill: Joint panel submits final report

The joint select committee of the state legislature on Tuesday submitted its final report on the controversial Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) bill to Speaker K B Koliwad on Tuesday.

The amendment bill seeks to fix rates for various procedures in private hospitals and penalise those that do not comply with it. It received flak from associations of private medical establishments and nursing homes that called the proposed law “draconian.” Following the uproar, the bill was referred to the committee headed by Congress MLA K N Rajanna.

The bill will be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the legislature scheduled in November.

Health and Family Welfare Minister K R Ramesh Kumar had said last month that private hospitals had come on board after they were convinced that the rates will be fixed through a committee having their representation as well.

Four BJP leaders who were members of the joint committee - K S Eshwarappa, Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, C N Ashwathnarayan and Ganesh Karnik - have placed their dissent on record over the final report. “Bringing government hospitals under the ambit of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act was crucial to reform Karnataka’s healthcare sector. But they have been left out,” Kageri told reporters.

Some other points for dissent are imprisonment for private medical staff; not factoring in cost of procedures in government hospitals while fixing rates in private hospitals; not strengthening existing regulatory bodies such as the Karnataka Medical Council and a proposal to establish grievance redressal committees.
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