Private Hospitals In Karnataka Shut OPDs Today To Protest New Medical Bill

The proposed bill aims to regulate fee and service charges at private hospitals in Karnataka. And private medical establishments or persons found overcharging will have to pay a penalty or face imprisonment

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Private Hospitals In Karnataka Shut OPDs Today To Protest New Medical Bill

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The proposed bill has been objected to by private doctors and hospitals in Karnataka.

Bengaluru:  Private hospitals and clinics in Karnataka have today suspended their OPD services to protest the state government's plan to regulate their fee and service charges. Emergency and ambulance services, however, will not be affected.

Dr Sudarshan Ballal, Medical Director of the Manipal Group of Hospitals, told NDTV, "Emergency services and inpatient services will continue, but we have shut the OPD facility today, which usually operates from 8am to 8pm."

The Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (Amendment) Bill 2017,  an amendment to the original Act in 2007, has been objected to by private medical practitioners and hospitals in the state. The bill was tabled earlier this year.

A committee headed by former chief justice of Karnataka high court Vikramajit Sen was appointed by the government in July last year to regulate the healthcare system in Karnataka. Its report in April 2017 suggested sweeping reforms, including regulations for private and government hospitals.

The government has proposed to fix charges or fee collected by private hospitals. The bill says that any private medical establishment or person found overcharging the patients will have to pay a penalty of Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh and face imprisonment of six months to five years. However, right now it doesn't apply to government hospitals.

The health minister's office said there were no immediate plans for a meeting with the medical fraternity to work out matters.

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