Karnataka govt tables bill to fix treatment rates of private hospitals
The Karnataka government on Tuesday tabled a bill to amend certain provisions of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act 2007 which empowers the state government to fix the rates or charges to be collected by private hospitals for each class of treatment, exceeding which would attract a maximum penalty of up to Rs5 lakh.
The tabling of the bill (Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (amendment) Bill 2017) comes at a time when health care charges in private medical establishments continue to rise, especially for speciality treatments, making them unaffordable for people from the lower economic classes.
Ramesh Kumar, health and family welfare minister of Karnataka, tabled the amendment bill which states that all private medical establishments would have to follow the rates fixed by the government, including the package rates for investigation, bed charges, operation theatre procedure, intensive care, ventilation, implants, consultation and similar tests among others which shall not attract additional charges over and above those fixed by the state government, including the package rates unless explained to and consented to by the patient.
“Every private medical establishment shall provide proper estimates for treatments not covered in fixed rates and charges to the patient or attendant of the patient during initiation or due course of treatment and final bill shall not exceed estimates,” the bill stated.
The state government suggested that on the recommendation of the expert committee to fix the rates of each class of treatment and different rates may be fixed for different class of private medical establishment.
“If the private medical establishments collect more charges than that fixed by the state government, to impose a penalty of not less than Rs25,000 which may extend to Rs5 lakh and imprisonment not less than six months which may be extended to three years,” the bill adds.
Though the fate of the bill remains uncertain at this juncture, new clauses have been inserted to ensure private hospitals not to demand advance payment in case of emergency treatment.
“Every private medical establishment shall handover in the event of the death, the body of the deceased immediately without insisting on the payment of the dues,” the bill states, while adding that dues can be recovered from representatives of the deceased in due course.
The bill also suggests the setting up of a district of metropolitan grievance redressal committee for redressal of grievance of patients.