IMA plea for exemption to hospitals opposed

IMA plea for exemption to hospitals opposed

Activists against exclusion from regulation

IMA plea for exemption to hospitals opposed

Public health activists have asked the Union Health Ministry to reject a plea from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to exempt accredited private hospitals and nursing homes from the purview of the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, which seeks to regulate the fees charged in these hospitals.

“The IMA is advocating the idea of accreditation as an alternative to CEA (Clinical Establishment Act) registration. This is a clear attempt to scuttle the CEA. Accreditation is a voluntary process and cannot be a substitute for licensing under CEA,” said activists from Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People Health Movement), who wrote a letter to the Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

More than five years after the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, was notified by the government, only a handful of states — Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — have adopted it. The law's implementation, however, remains poor.

From the beginning, the IMA, country’s biggest association of doctors — was opposed to the act that makes it mandatory for clinical units to clearly state upfront the services they provide and their respective cost.m But there is a new proposal from the IMA seeking exemption for those clinics that are accredited by the government agency National Accreditation Board for Hospitals.

An IMA delegation met Nadda seeking the exemption, following which a committee has been formed to examine the IMA wish list.

Minimum standards
From the point of view of patients, it is not enough to lay down minimum standards to minimum quality care for patients. “There needs to be a monitoring mechanism and an effective grievance redress mechanism for patients in case of perceived violations of these standards. The Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, rules lay down that charges to be levied by hospitals would be within the range decided by the government All this is not possible if some hospitals are kept out of CEA licensing,” they said.