Insurance coverage to further boost Ayurveda, says expert

Govt proposes new pre-accreditation category for Ayush hospitals and wellness centres to improve patient safety

Arun Sreenivasan, New Delhi

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In a bid to enhance patient safety and care quality in the alternative healthcare industry, the Ayush ministry has prepared a new standard category for Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Naturopathy hospitals and wellness centres. The pre-accreditation entry level norms, prepared with the help of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) and Quality Council of India, would be a stepping-stone for thousands of small healthcare organisations (SHCOs) to attain full accreditation.

The draft guidelines will be finalised after reviewing suggestions from industry stakeholders. The NABH has asked consumers and other stakeholders to send their suggestions and comments before December 3.

Though an NABH full accreditation programme for Ayush hospitals was introduced by the ministry two years back, most small healthcare centres found the norms too tough to follow and only a handful of firms had received the stamp of approval. “Many wellness centres have been complaining about the stringent parameters. An in-between category is being introduced to encourage such institutions attain accreditation eventually,” a health ministry official said.

The pre-accreditation, a lower version based on care quality and infrastructure requirements, contains only around one-fourth of the full accreditation requirements. They are applicable to government and private hospitals.

The guidelines lay emphasis on medication management, patient rights, infection control and administrative procedures. As per the draft, reviewed by Pharmabiz, the Ayush hospital needs to have a documented procedure for patient registration, admission and transfer to get the grading. It should offer laboratory services and the management has to ensure that every service has qualified and registered doctors and nursing care providers to take care of patient’s clinical needs. A unique identification number should be generated at the end of each registration, which also must be authorised by a registered doctor and an initial assessment for in-patients should documented within 24 hours or earlier.

According to industry sources, the new grading is intended to build patient confidence and would support the ministry’s efforts to increase the reach of holistic medical systems. Recently, Ayush minister Shripad Naik has announced an ambitious plan to set up Ayush hospitals in 100 districts in the country. The hospitals are being constructed at a cost of Rs. 14 crore each. ESI hospitals are also being told to provide treatment in Ayurveda and an understanding has been reached already with ministries of labour, railways and commerce in this regard.

The new seal of quality to Ayush treatment centres is aimed at helping the country achieve its goal of becoming a US$ 9 billion medical tourism destination by 2020. According to a recent FICCI report, over 500,000 foreign patients reach every year for treatment.


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