Uniform healthcare norms on the cards, says health secretary

The Centre is looking to develop uniform healthcare norms across the country so as to ensure parity between public and private healthcare systems, a top Health Ministry official said.

Plans are afoot to cover hospital performance levels, their ratings or even their rates under such norms, Union Health Secretary C.K.Mishra indicated at a PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) event on Health Insurance here recently.

“There is very little information available in the public domain about hospitals performance level, their ratings or even their rates. The system is bit opaque and we need to work on that”, Mishra added.

He said that Centre had earlier come up with standard treatment guidelines, but it had not gone into the cost of treatment.

“With industry associations like CII and FICCI, we have been trying to work out a mechanism to do cost of treatment for certain forms of treatment. We haven’t really been successful”, Mishra said.

Mishra felt that if there is good competition among the private sector, then one need not tell them on aspects like pricing, hospital performance etc. However, right now, the supply side is weak, he added.

HEALTH REGULATOR

Mishra said that there is a thinking going on to put in place a health regulator.

“Once you move to electronic health records and it is universally applied, several issues of privacy and rights will come up…then perhaps you will need a regulator”, he said.

He also said that the recently announced National Health Policy had talked of a National Health Regulator. Bringing in a health regulator is expected to sort out many of the pricing issues and also bring down out-of-pocket expenses significantly.

RSBY

Mishra also said that the Centre’s flagship scheme Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) would be merged with the proposed National Health Protection Scheme, which is expected to be rolled out from April 1 next year.

“RSBY is precursor to the National Health Protection Scheme. The RSBY and some other schemes will get merged into that. Beneficiaries of RSBY will get transferred to new scheme. We will not run two schemes”, Mishra said.

RSBY is very much in vogue. Many of the States —TN, Maharashtra and AP—have improved upon it. The problem is how to subsume other schemes (besides RSBY) into the National Health Protection Scheme, he added.

[“Source-thehindubusinessline”]