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550 establishments in Bangalore have registered
KPME Act was notified in November 2009
Bangalore: Although the deadline for private medical establishments to register under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Act, 2007, has been extended up to October 24, many are yet to sign in.
Of the estimated 15,000 medical establishments, including diagnostic centres in the city, only 550 have registered so far, while owners of 4,850 establishments have applied for registration. In addition, 400 establishments from other parts of the State have registered, say health officials.
Although the State Department of Health and Family Welfare extended the initial February 10 deadline through an amendment to the KPME Act, the response has been poor.
“There is no excuse after October 24 for the existing establishments as this is a one-time extension.
“If they do not apply by then, we will strictly follow the provisions in the Act to penalise them,” E.V. Ramana Reddy, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, told The Hindu.
Quoting the Act, District Health Officer (Bangalore Urban) M. Thimappa said those who do not register before the deadline would be liable for punishment, including imprisonment.
“We have set up a District Registration Authority Committee comprising representatives from the Indian Medical Association and AYUSH Board.
“This committee has started inspecting the establishments that have applied for registration. We will randomly conduct inspections even after the deadline and initiate action against those who have not registered,” he said.
Calling upon all the private medical establishments to register, Dr. Thimappa said: “Owners of smaller establishments may be under the impression that they need not register. But, according to the Act, all have to compulsorily register or face action.”
However, sources in the department said that it would be difficult for the Government to punish the violators.
“To ensure that the private medical establishments get more time to register, the Government has amended the Act within a few months of it being notified on November 10, 2009. It is rare that the Government amends Acts within a short period from notification,” the sources said.
H. Paramesh, president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes' Association (PHANA), said most of the association members had applied for registration. “But we are yet to be issued registration certificates,” he said.
The Act is aimed at regulating and controlling private medical establishments, including diagnostic centres, health clubs and alternative medicine centres, to ensure that people get quality healthcare.
What the Act says
According to the Act, every private medical establishment will have to prominently display the rates charged by the hospital for various medical procedures and facilities.
The new law also stipulates minimum standards in terms of physical infrastructure, technical know-how and staff qualifications to set up a private healthcare institution.
Until now, a trade licence from the local civic body and a no-objection certificate from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board were enough to open a private health facility.
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