Padmashree College of Hospital Administration in association with the Private Hospitals & Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) –Bengaluru, organised a seminar on ‘Dissemination of KPME Bill amendment 2017’ at Bengaluru. The seminar was attended by over 150 delegates. Some of the prominent speakers at the seminar were Dr.Nagendra Swamy S C, Sr. President, Group Medical Director, Manipal Health Enterprises; Dr.Madan Gaekwad, Senior Executive Vice President-Sagar Hospital & Hon.President-PHANA; Dr.Devadasan, Co-Founder & Director, Institute of Public Health, Bangalore and Dr.Alexander Thomas, Executive Director-AHPI & President-ANBAI.
Most of the stake holders felt that the bill proposes to have a ceiling on price of the services offered by the private hospitals, which has been a tricky issue and a uniform price across the platforms cannot be fixed due to various factors like location (Urban/rural), facilities available at the hospital, quality of care being provided etc. Any fixation of uniform prices across these facilities would create chaos in the private sector. If the Government plans to order price fixation then the public image of private sector hospitals would suffer since it would look like the private sector hospitals have been fleecing patients hence the Government had to step in, instead the Government can ask the private regulators to fix the prices as per the facilities available and then verify and vouch it for the veracity. The Government facilities where vast majority of the poor get treated will not be covered under the purview of the bill and will continue with the existing poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities to serve the mass. Most of the speakers from private sector felt the bill is indirectly an attack on the private sector while the government is shirking away from its responsibility to provide quality and affordable healthcare for the poor by excluding the public hospitals from the scope of the bill.
The proposed grievance redressal forums to be constituted under the district heads would only add one more responsibility to those who are heading about 140 district level committees at present. More over the prevailing systems of consumer redressal forum, criminal court, High Court and Human Rights would create chaos in the private sector. The government facilities where vast majority of the poor get treated will not be covered under the purview of the bill and will continue with the poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities to serve the mass but would not have free access to grievances redressal with a independent body. Hence it was opined that there should be an independent ombudsman where all the patients irrespective of private of government sector could approach as the first line of complaint redressal system similar to one which exists in Banking sector.
Most of the participants felt that a proper SWOT analysis need to be done of the existing KPME Act before any amendments are implemented since the existing Act has been in force for nearly decade. The basic assumptions behind the amendments are hidden to the public. The meeting recommended the government to have a system of “Rational Pricing” whereby the price estimation of the providers are approved on the basis of the evidence given by each facility and making the rates Known for the public. There should be a comprehensive grievance handling system which would also address the issues of the service providers as well. The forum asked the Government s to abolish quacks rather than imposing to many rules on professionals.