Wednesday, March 1, 2017

W Bengal Bill allows hospital regulator to slap fine, cancel licence

KOLKATA: A draft amendment bill to set up a health regulator, that is likely to be tabled in the Assembly on Friday, will empower the commission to slap stiff penalties on a medical facility if it is found to be at fault. The penalties may include a fine, lodging of a police complaint, direction to refund the treatment cost in the event of any lapse or even termination of the hospital's licence.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has already gone through the draft amendment bill -the West Bengal Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 -will meet representatives of private healthcare authorities at Nabanna on Tuesday before finalising the clauses.

One of the commission's first job will be to formulate a standard treatment protocol in consultation with experts for common diseases to deter mine the expected charges.This is to help private hospitals draw up similar packages for surgeries in case they use the same technology .

While doing this, the com mission may also take stock of the facilities and technology available at the different private hospitals, nursing homes and clinic and grade them accordingly . The package charges may vary on the grading of the hospitals with a cap on the highest charge for a specific surgery or intervention. The commission will also have the power to call for case reports of patients, in which case the hospital will have to give a detailed account of the treatment followed.

The new bill is also aimed at ensuring transparency in treatment and billing procedure.

The commission will thus serve as an apex body of all private healthcare providers, all of which will have a grievance cell. Aggrieved parties may lodge their complaints with these cells, which will pass on the compla ints to the regulator.

Apart from medical experts, the commission will have members from the state administration and profes sionals to address the complaints like non-communication from the hospital, misbehaviour by doctors, overbilling and excessive tests.

“The penalty won't be less than Rs 5 lakh in the event of a patient's death due to negligence, Rs 3 lakh for organ damage and Rs 1 lakh in the event of aninjury. The compensation will have to be paid at the earliest and in no case later than six months from the date of occurrence of the incident. In case of death, an interim relief would have to be paid to the next of kin within 30 days of the incident,“ a state health official said.

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