Categorisation of Kerala private hospitals mooted

Medical experts suggest four sections

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the state government conducting a study on the charges levied for diagnostic, treatment procedures and patient care in private hospitals in an attempt to standardise the rates, leading medical experts have called for categorisation of the hospitals ahead of any changes. They have suggested categorisation into four sections: hospitals with PG programme and standardised modern facilities; centres without PG programme but possessing standardised modern facilities; centres with few specialities with modern standard facilities; and centres without standard modern facilities at all.

Leading cardiologist Dr G. Vijayaraghavan said the facilities of each hospital will have to be studied in detail prior to categorisation. “The facilities need to be well-defined. Unless such an exhaustive exercise is carried out covering all hospitals, the move will not mean anything. Only base charges can be fixed for procedures which are usual. But unusual procedures like transplant programmes involve a lot of brainstorming, planning and proper execution. Therefore, fixing charges for entire procedures may not be practical,” he said.

Dr Vijayaraghavan, who has vast experience both in public and private sector, said superficial studies would not do. A whole lot of experts in the field and scientific methods will have to be adopted to get proper feedback. IMA national president Dr A. Marthanda Pillai said standardisation of rates in private sector was not an easy task. Each hospital has different types of facilities, speciality, medical experts and it would not be easy to classify them.

He suggested that the government should explore the possibilities of bringing in top hospitals within the purview of its health care schemes to make facilities in private hospitals affordable to the common man. However, Health Minister K.K. Shailaja said the study would be comprehensive taking into account the views of all stakeholders. “Our decision to conduct the study was based on the growing complaints from people that many hospitals in the private sector were fleecing the patients,” she said.

With more than 60 per cent health care services being provided by private sector, the government believes that there is a need to have a check on them. Various studies suggest that the rates for various medical procedures are four times higher in the private sector compared to public health sector.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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