What is the KPME (Amendment) Bill and why are private doctors in Karnataka up in arms against it?
The Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2017, is a recent piece of amendment which has been made to the existing KPME Bill, which intends to bring all the PMEs under the purview of the government. According to the government, the main motive behind such amendment is to make a way for the Karnataka government to fix the rates for each class of treatment and provide a grievance redressal systems. Some of the main features of this amendment are such as increasing the cap of fines and maximum imprisonment periods for any kind of violation. It also makes it mandatory to provide lifesaving or stabilising emergency measures to patients without insisting on advance payment thus curbing the age old practice of demanding advance payment in case of emergency treatment, which sometimes also extends to the holding of dead bodies till the time all dues have been settled.
On one hand such additions by amendment are seen as a piece of beneficial legislation but on other side it is not very well taken by the doctors since it puts price capping upon various procedures thus restricting their income, provides for the imprisonment of doctors and also setting up a grievance redressal cell, which according to the medical fraternity is draconian in nature.