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Post SC’s ultimatum, Centre convenes meeting with states on CER implementation

The health ministry has called for a meeting with state governments next week for the implementation of the Clinical Establishment Rules, according to two officials aware of the development, after the Supreme Court took serious note of discrepancies in charges across government and private medical facilities.

The court on Tuesday strongly criticized the Centre for failing to enforce the 14-year-old Clinical Establishment (Central Government) Rules, which makes it mandatory for clinical establishments to display the charges for treatments and procedures.

“Some of the states are doing it well whereas there are lapses in proper implementation of the scheme in certain states. The ministry had earlier also written to the states and asked them for proper implementation of the rule,” said a senior official.

As per the official, the meeting is likely to be kept virtual.

“It is mandatory for the state health secretaries to attend the meeting, this will help to resolve the matter and also know what exactly are the issues in the rules that the states are facing,” another official added.

The Clinical Establishments Act was passed by Parliament in 2010 to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribing minimum standards of facilities and services. The Act was notified in 2012 and initially came into force in four states — Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim – and all Union Territories except Delhi.

The Act covers all kinds of clinical establishments – both public and private, from hospitals to single-doctor clinics – and all recognized systems of medicine.

The matter came to light after an NGO, Veterans Forum for Transparency in Public Life, filed a public interest litigation, asking that the Centre decide th amounts that can be charged from patients in accordance with Rule 9.

Under the Rules, all hospitals and clinical establishments, to keep intact their registration, must “display rates charged for each type of service provided and facilities available for benefit of patients at a conspicuous place in vernacular as well as in English language; and charge rates for each type of procedures and services within range of rates determined and issued by Centre from time to time, in consultation with state govts.”

An email sent to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry seeking comment on the decision remained unanswered at press time. LiveMint

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