Kerala Assembly passes ‘hospital friendly’ Clinical Establishments Bill 2017, to be effective from June 1, 2018

kerala assembly

The Kerala Assembly on February 1 unanimously passed the Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Bill, 2017 which seeks to bring about more transparency in healthcare. The new legislation empowers the government to regulate, monitor and assess all clinical establishments including laboratories. The government plans to implement the law from June 1 this year.

Unlike what happened in other states, the Bill is welcomed by all associations of the medical community including Kerala IMA, QPMPA and private hospital managements.

Dr. E K Ummer, president of Kerala branch of the IMA said the Bill is very much hospital friendly and the government has accepted the suggestions put forward by IMA and made amendment in the draft before its passage in the Assembly. He further said it can be taken as a ‘role model bill’ for other states in the country as there were protests by doctors in Karnataka and West Bengal against a host of clauses in the Bills drawn up by the respective governments.
Dr.Ummer said Kerala is the 9th state introducing separate clinical establishment bill in India, and 10 state governments have accepted the central bill for implementation.

As per the new law, all clinical establishments of all recognized systems, Allopathy, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Homoeopathy, Siddha and Unani, working both under private and public sector, as well as those under local authorities such as corporation, municipality and punchayath, will come under its purview. However, the clinical establishments owned, controlled and managed by Armed Forces are not covered under this Bill.

The bill wants all clinical establishments to have a minimum set of standards. The establishments will be classified into various categories based on the size (number of beds), services and facilities provided. There will be different minimum standards prescribed for different categories. Difference in standards will be there for smaller hospitals and nursing homes. Regarding registration, the bill has provision for permanent registration for those clinical institutions which got accreditations form National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) or the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL). This has cheered the IMA and the QPMPA very much, and brought them closer to the government.

The bill says that there will be a Grievance Redressal Mechanism to receive complaints from the public with respect to violation of provisions of this act or the rules by any clinical establishment.

Dr. CM Abubaker, president of the Qualified Private Medical Practitioners Association (QPMPA), an association of private hospital owners and doctors association, said even though the bill can be accepted in its general form, there are concerns on several clauses which also need to be amended later. He said the provision that stands for cancellation of licence for a hospital on account of mistakes from a doctor should be removed from the bill. The doctors should have the right to defend his side before initiating legal steps. Similarly, it is impossible to display the fees or charges of all treatment methods. Fee can be decided only after examining the patients, he said.

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