Health Policy

Common treatment protocol for the countrymen

eHealth BureauThe health ministry has planned to standardise common set of protocols for treatment across the country. For this the ministry has set up an expert panel to draft a set of norms for unified treatment standards expected to be implemented in next three to four months and in hospitals and healthcare service centres in one-two years.This move comes after the controversy on some of the health insurance firms declared of withdrawing the cashless payment facility for treatment at hundreds of hospitals, alleging that they were over-charging customers who had health insurance policies and leading to huge losses for the insurers.The move towards standardisation follows the recent passage of the Clinical Establishment Act, which calls for common standards to be maintained by healthcare facilities. Every such legislation requires a set of guidelines to be framed. Currently, there are no standard methods of treating ailments or providing standard infrastructure facilities during hospitalisation. Because health is a state subject, the Centre can only recommend to state governments that they adopt the Clinical Establishment Act.In the process the ministry is in talks with various state authorities for implementing common standards of treatment at hospitals across the nation. The Act will seek to provide uniformity in healthcare delivery, said Dinesh Trivedi, minister of state for health and family welfare.India has 23 non-life insurers, and almost all of them offer health insurance. The four state-owned general insurers have agreed to set up a common third-party administrator in a joint venture to manage health insurance claims.Regulation of hospitals will start with a review of the existing system of clinical establishments (which include hospitals, nursing homes, maternity homes). It would include regulation of professional services and accreditation of healthcare infrastructure to ensure universal access to equitable, affordable and quality healthcare that’s responsive and accountable to patients.The second stage would be to identify the potential areas involved in providing accreditation to ensure cost-effective and standardised delivery of health services to people in rural and urban areas. The third stage would be to suggest a practical and cost-efficient system of accreditation of healthcare infrastructure.In the US, accreditation of health services is an established practice and financial resources are allotted to health institutions on the basis of accreditation. Canada, Australia and some European countries, too, follow this practice. In Australia, a star rating is given to hospitals on the lines of ratings for hotels, based on the facilities provided.

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