Source: The Hindu
In an attempt to establish standards of care for patients and safety in healthcare institutions in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS) is contemplating making accreditation mandatory for hospitals seeking empanelment as part of the scheme.
A couple of protocols, pre-accreditation entry-level standards for hospitals and the other for smaller healthcare organisations have already been readied and issued as a circular, besides being hosted on the CMCHIS website.
“The idea is that even if the patients are not paying for the treatment, the government is. It is not charity that the hospitals are doing, and patients need to get the best,” a Health Department official said.
This is seen as the first move to bring both private and public healthcare institutions within the ambit of quality regulation, something that is achieved merely by self-motivation currently.
The standards have been evolved in consultation with the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), and are in fact inspired by their entry-level accreditation standards that make it easier for hospitals to imbibe quality control culture.
“Earlier, hospitals which could not afford the process of quality control would just stay away. But, we are now offering them a foot in the door,” K.K. Kalra, CEO, NABH, had told The Hindu earlier.
The CMCHIS staff will first seek to orient hospitals on these standards before beginning the process of pre-accreditation, according to officials.
It is expected that at a certain point, accreditation for a hospital will become a pre-condition for empanelment in the government insurance scheme.
Existing hospitals that do not have accreditation will also be eased into the process, officials said.
United India Insurance, the insurance partner for the State government in this venture, seems equally enthused by this move.
Asha Nair, director and general manager, United India Insurance, said, “I would be very happy if this can be implemented. It means we are ensuring a minimum quality of service for all healthcare consumers across the board.”
The ideal would be to make it qualifying criteria for new hospitals that apply for empanelment.
Hospitals that have already been empanelled can be given time and a deadline to get accreditation, she said.