Standard treatment guidelines soon

 Will help streamline treatment procedures across government hospitals

By Sonal Matharu
Published: Saturday 17 September 2011

 In an effort to streamline treatment procedures across government hospitals the Centre will soon come out with standard treatment guidelines. The guidelines will also be sent to private clinics, but will be non-binding on any of the hospitals. 

The guidelines will also benefit companies providing health insurance while reimbursing their customers. 

To frame the guidelines the Union health ministry along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI) has already formed 20 working groups consisting of eminent people from fields like cardiology, orthopedics, arthritis, oncology and gynaecology. FICCI had also released similar guidelines formed by 22 working groups in July 2009 but they were not followed by any of the hospitals. 

“The guidelines that FICCI released were an industry initiative. This is a government initiative and FICCI will assist us on it. We have selected the most eminent people from various fields from all over the country to work on these guidelines,” says A K Panda, joint secretary, health ministry. 

Nine of the groups have already submitted their reports on what protocols should be followed for treating patients. The rest of the reports are expected within two to three months. 

Once the guidelines are submitted to the ministry, these will be sent for peer review. They will also be sent to state governments, hospitals and the insurance companies for their views. 

Panda says to expand health insurance cover in the country the government is also mulling over the idea to introduce Clinical Establishment Act, 2011. Under the Act, all clinical establishments, be it government or private hospitals or clinics, will have to be registered with the government. 

These establishments will also have to display their list of treatment charges. This will be done to make sure they do not inflate medical bills. The insurance companies will be able to know which hospital or clinic provides what all treatments and at what cost. These clinical establishments will be divided into 40 categories. 

“Implementing the Act will be a major challenge but many countries have done it in the past,” Panda adds.  

In India, all seven union territories and four states including Mizoram, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have already passed the Act. Bihar has joined recently. Orissa and Rajasthan have shown interest to introduce it, Panda says.


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