<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A watered down version of the controversial medical bill designed to regulate private health care was introduced in the Karnataka Assembly today, dropping a provision for sending doctors to jail for negligence.The bill scraps several other provisions which were considered ‘draconian” by doctors in private hospitals and nursing homes, protesting which they had struck work last week crippling health services. The changes were made after the government and the striking doctors had reached an amicable settlement that led to the withdrawal of the indefinite strike on November 17. ‘The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2017’, tabled by Health Minister Ramesh Kumar, aims at making necessary amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007 (Karnataka Act 21 of 2007).The bill removes imprisonment provisions in case of violation of certain sections of the Act. Earlier,the bill had proposed six months to three years jail term and hefty penalty for medical negligence on the part of doctors.It also provides for emergency treatment as per the need without insisting on payment of advance from patient or representative of the patient in specified cases and enhancing certain monetary penalties leviable under certain sections.According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, it was considered necessary to amend the 2007 Act to reconstitute the registration and grievances redressal authority and enhance transparency in display of rates by private medical establishments. The bill also empowers the state government to fix uniform package rates for treatment and procedures under health assurance schemes of the government, specify the patients charter and private medical establishment’s charter.It provides for levy of monetary penalty in case of non compliance of the patients charter or private medical establishments charter. The bill was first tabled in the assembly on June 13 and later sent to the joint select committee following opposition by doctors and medical professionals.The bill also stated that complaints pertaining to negligence,non-adherence to standard protocols for treatments, procedures and prescription audit shall be referred to the Karnataka Medical Council for inquiry.It also mentions about forming an expert committee to recommend classification of the private medical establishment and recommend minimum standards of infrastructure, staffing pattern and staff qualification, as also standard protocols for treatments and procedures and prescription audit. The doctors had called off the strike after meeting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and an interim order by the Karnataka High Court directing the agitating doctors to restore forthwith their medical services.
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