BBMP Commissioner to address complaints against private medical establishments
In the backdrop of citizens’ complaints about private hospitals refusing admission citing shortage of beds or overcharging, the State government has promulgated an Ordinance on setting up a separate registration and grievance redressal authority for medical establishments in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits.
Under the new Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was approved by the Governor on Friday, the BBMP Commissioner will have full powers under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act. Prior to this, the powers were vested with the Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban. Sources in the State government said the move would help smoothen coordination of health facilities in Bengaluru.
Recently, the State Cabinet approved handing over administrative control over primary health centres and hospitals coming under the Bengaluru Urban Zilla Panchayat to the BBMP Commissioner.
According to the Ordinance, the registration and grievance redressal authority shall have a five-member team. The chairman of the authority shall be the BBMP Commissioner. Other members will include the Chief Health Officer (Public Health), the president or the secretary of the Indian Medical Association, the State Head and the Joint Director of AYUSH, and a woman representative when the authority deals with grievance redressal.
Over the past few weeks, there have been a growing number of cases where COVID-19 patients and their family members were forced to run from pillar to post trying to secure a hospital bed. Some had knocked on the doors of more than a dozen hospitals only to get a bed with the intervention of officials or elected representatives.
A BBMP official said the move would help them monitor private hospitals efficiently. Complaints have been filed against several private hospitals as they had not handed over 50% beds under the government quota.
“The complaint was filed under the Disaster Management Act. We can now address complaints under the KPME Act itself,” the official added.
The BBMP had recently issued show-cause notices to 291 private hospitals and temporarily cancelled the licences of a few as they had not complied with the government’s orders.