09 September 2010
More than 13 years after ushering in a law to regulate private hospitals, the state health department is framing rules to ensure such hospitals are registered with it. Apart from the number of doctors, nurses and beds, procedures hospital can carry out based on its infrastructure will be specified. The department plans to create a registry for diseases and form committees to conduct infection and death audits.
"The centre is working on a similar Act. We want to make our rules stringent and are talking to the law department," said health secretary V K Subburaj. The Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishment Act came into force in April 1997 after the assembly passed it when M Karunanidhi was chief minister.
But no rules were framed as doctors’ associations insisted that members of the governing council be doctors. "The government did not agree. For want of a consensus, it was delayed," Subburaj said.
At present, private hospitals are not required to register with the government. Even cases of medical negligence are dealt with by consumer courts. Last month, at a health departmentconvened meeting of experts for framing a policy to avoid antibiotic abuse the participants said that without an adequate monitoring system, the guidelines would be useless.
"They felt it would be meaningless if the state could not ensure the guidelines were followed," he said. The department realized the need for implementing the Act after hospitals were found rejecting cases under the Kalaignar Health Insurance Scheme stating lack of infrastructure.
On Tuesday, health minister MRK Panneerselvam said officials would inspect hospitals to check if they had infrastructure to handle cases. "Many ‘multi–specialty’ hospitals reject cases under the state health insurance scheme for surgery quoting lack of infrastructure. We need to check this," said Panneerselvam.
"If they bring in quality control, the cost would go up, particularly in rural areas. The fine is too high and they insist on high–end infrastructure. It’s impossible to match what they want.
Moreover, it’s unfair for the government to monitor private hospitals when the government hospitals are in a mess," said Indian Medical Association (IMA) honorary secretary Dr TN Ravishankar.
- 13 years after Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishment Act was passed, no govt move yet to regularise private hospitals
- Cases of medical negligence in private hospitals continue to be contested in consumer courts
- Registration of private hospitals with the health department delayed to due to demands that doctors be members of a governing council