Punjab to Grade Hospitals for Services

For improving the quality of health and to keep prices under check, the Punjab government is planning to introduce a grading system for both private and government hospitals in the state. To begin with, the government will grade hospitals with over 50 beds. Based on facilities and level of care provided, the hospitals will be divided into four levels, with a price cap on services offered. According to 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 fixed by the government.

Each hospital will be required to display rates and services offered. A body will be formed to review the functioning of the graded hospitals. A senior health department official said that the grading system will help patients select hospitals. “At present, private hospitals charge patients according to their will. This will stop after the grading system is put in place,” said the official. Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra 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. “The government is in the process of finalizing the rules and it will be implemented in next few months,” said Mohindra.

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. 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 is 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

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