Law to regulate nursing homes on the anvil

BANGALORE Nov. 7. The proposed Karnataka Health Policy will promote public sector-private sector partnership in the healthcare sector in a planned manner, A.K.M. Nayak, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, has said.

Inaugurating an international seminar on "Role of Private Sector in Healthcare in India", organised by the Indian Society of Health Administrators (ISHA) in collaboration with the International Health Summit and the International Hospital Federation, U.K., here today, Mr. Nayak said the State Government was in the process of drawing up the Karnataka Nursing Homes Regulation Bill. The Government had held discussions with representatives of the Indian Medical Association, Karnataka branch, and revised the Bill according to their recommendations.

The Bill was presently under scrutiny by the Department of Parliamentary Affairs. It would regulate standards of quality, infrastructure, staff, and so on in medical institutions all over the State, he said.

As part of the public-private partnership in healthcare, the Government had taken many initiatives, including offering management of public health centres (PHCs) to non-governmental organisations and medical colleges jointly. Applications for this were verified by the Director, Medical Education and the chief executive officers of the zilla panchayat concerned.

The Government would provide continuous support for the project and monitor the functioning of PHCs at the district level. Adequate responses had not been received as to the success of the programme and it was difficult to gauge whether the results of this venture were favourable, as of now, Dr. Nayak said.

The Government had recognised some private hospitals in the State for treatment of government employees, he said.

Telemedicine project

Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya, said his institution was planning to launch a joint venture telemedicine project in the State in collaboration with the Government and the Indian Space Research Organisation. The plan was to set up 27 coronary care, diabetic care, ophthalmology, and chest medicine units at a cost of Rs. 150 crore, to take healthcare to the masses.

A health insurance scheme, "Yashashwini" would also be launched shortly by the Government in association with Narayana Hrudayalaya and two insurance companies to provide health insurance coverage to 50 lakh people in the State, mostly farmers. This scheme would cover all kinds of ailments and would be initiated in around 40 hospitals here, he said.

Healthcare in India had a lot of potential to improve because the country produced the largest number of doctors, nurses, and medical technicians.

Quality medical facilities were available to only a privileged few because most people could not afford specialised treatment. Healthcare had to be made more affordable, Dr. Shetty said.

Ashok Sahni, Executive Director, ISHA, R. Suryanarayanan, Director (Administration), International Hospital Federation, and Nandini Adya of the International Finance Corporation were present.

The three-day seminar will deliberate on private-public partnerships and the role of the private sector in healthcare.

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