Bengaluru: Private doctors in Karnataka are at loggerheads with the government after it tabled a bill on Tuesday to amend the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act 2007.
According to draft amendment, the government will set up an expert committee—which will decide the rates for medical treatments in all private hospitals.
The committee will have the powers to decide the prices of bed charges, operation theatre procedure, intensive care, ventilation, implants, and consultation. It will have members from both private and government sectors.
Karnataka Health Minister Ramesh Kumar told News18.com “Unfortunately these days health sectors have turned into a business activity. Government doesn't fix the price and the helpless people are suffering. The price is suggested by a committee of experts that includes ones from the private sector. This is to be prominently displayed in every hospital.”
The agitated doctors and private hospital fraternity plan to protest “Bangalore Chalo” on Friday. Around 15,000 doctors are expected to march in the city.
Indian Medical Association (IMA), a representative body for doctors, feels that the government cannot target every private hospital. Patients are duly informed about the rates and they do not charge exorbitant rates.
Former president of IMA Dr GN Prabhakara said, “If the government wants to target corporate hospitals, they can. But why target small and medium sized private hospitals. The draft bill that we recommended was ignored and now a new bill has been tabled. Our recommendations have been thrashed by the government.”
The proposed amendment excludes government hospitals which has drawn flak from private hospital doctors. According to reports, the draft amendment included the government hospitals, but when it was tabled it was excluded.
The bill adds, if the private medical establishments collect more charges than that fixed by the state government, a penalty of not less than Rs 25,000 which may extend to Rs 5 lakh and imprisonment not less than six months which may be extended to three years.
“Based on the magnitude of the commission of the mistake, the penalties will be suggested and ultimately government hasn't penalised them. It's the law. You have the codes of law that take the decision and it goes through that process,” said Karnataka Health Minister Ramesh Kumar.