For improving the quality of health services and to keep prices under check, the Punjab government is planning to introduce grading system for hospitals — both private and government — in the state. To begin with, the government will grade hospitals with over 50 beds. Based on facilities and level of care provided, hospitals will be divided into four levels with a price cap on services offered. As per the plan, hospitals providing primary healthcare services will be put in level 1, while those having services of surgery in addition to primary healthcare will be put in level 2. Hospitals offering multi-specialty clinical care will be placed in level 3, while teaching hospitals having multiple super specialties will be placed in level 4. The hospitals placed in different levels will be required to maintain minimum standards of facilities and services and follow rates of different services and procedures fixed by the state government.
Each hospital will be required to display fixed rates and services offered. A body will be formed to periodically review the functioning of the graded hospital. A senior health department official said that the grading system will provide help the patients in selecting a hospital for treatment. “At present, private hospitals charge patients as per their will. This will stop after the grading system is put in place,” said the official. Punjab health minister Brahm Mohinhdra said that the move is part of Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, which the state government plans to implement with an aim to provide better health services to people. “The government is in process of finalizing the rules and will be implemented in next few months,” said Mohinhdra.
Once implemented, Punjab will become 17th state\UT in the country to adopt the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act. Haryana and Chandigarh have already implemented the Act. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam are amongst other states which have adopted the Act. Punjab chapter of Indian Medical Association are up in arms against the proposed move of the government. Expressing displeasure, chairman action committee-cum-legal cell of IMA, Punjab, Dr Amandeep Aggarwal, said: “The government has no right to fix the rates of services offered by private hospitals\doctors. It the prerogative of private hospitals to fix their own rates.” He further said that the government at most can ask them to display their rate list. – TOI