A STORM IN THE MEDICINE BOTTLE

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2016)

It all started quite innocuously, as most controversies do. There was a communication in the official web site of Karnataka Medical Council in the year 2011 stating that all doctors had to accumulate at least 30 CME points before August 2016 at no more than 6 points a year and that a fee of Rs.1000/- and an additional onetime fee for smart card would have to be paid to the KMC at the time of renewal.

Very few doctors took note of it initially, or gave it any importance. But even as late as 2014, the KMC had no formal way of giving accreditation points for CMEs with employees of KMC themselves being clueless about the whole process.

The KMC put in place, a guide for organisers of CME to register their program and allow participants to collect points. The organisers had to pay KMC to recognise their program and allot points to the participants. As the date for renewal came closer, a mad frenzy of CMEs and CME point seekers ensued.

During this time, a series of anonymous communications on social media started. “Reject Renewal and Reclaim Permanent Registration” one said. Another said “On perusal of the Karnataka Medical Registration Act of 1961 and 2003 and KMR Rules 1963, we clearly understand that our existing registration is permanent and does not need renewal. We also understand that there is no clause for 5 yearly renewals in the sections 13,19 of KMR Act or the sections 39, 43 of KMR Rules.”

The Registrar of KMC replied that “the Council has taken up the task of digitization and renewal. Time and again it has been emphasized that there is no life time validity under KMR act.  Every year renewal is stipulated. As per amendment of the act in 2003, insertion is made in place of provision for Rs. 1000 as the prescribed fee. Provision in place for every year Dec 31st and every five year Dec 31st is inserted. All registrations are renewable periodically. Stamping on some of certificates as life time validity is not valid as per existing law. Various councils across world and across many states in India have already implemented this. If any doctor don’t want to do renewal, he is legally liable.”

They also countered that “IMA (which is an association and not a statutory body) is found spreading false messages and misguiding the doctors with respect to need of the renewal and data update process.”

Subsequently some doctors pointed out that KMC had issued permanent registration certificates after collecting life time fee and they have practiced for decades with the same. They claimed that the new demand by KMC, by the present team, is legally untenable.

When these points were pointed out to KMC members, they agreed to drop CME credits and compulsory renewal, and offered doctors the option for updation only, free of charges.KMC had undertaken special registration drives by setting booths in various hospitals. The responses have been patchy.

In spite of all of the above, the responses from doctors for re-registration have been poor. Most doctors are willing to wait and watch for what unfolds in future and hope that the government intervenes and clarifies the confusion sooner than later!

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Dr. Prasad, M.S.N is a senior consultation surgical pathologist at Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and The Bangalore Hospital.

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