Chennai: Insurance regulator’s decision mandating NABH accreditation for Ayush hospitals for getting insurance coverage will exclude more than 95 per cent of the facilities in the country.
In a recent notification, Irdai said that Ayush hospitals and Ayush day care centres should obtain either pre-entry level certificate or higher level of certificate issued by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) or State Level Certificate under National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS), issued by National Health Systems Resources Centre (NHSRC). Along with a few other parameters, this would make them eligible for coverage under health policies.
While NQAS is mainly meant for government institutions, private hospitals require NABH accreditation. The industry is worried that this will straight away exclude more than 95 per cent of the hospitals.
“In India there are only 100 NABH accredited Ayush hospitals and this includes government Ayush medical colleges and hospitals also. In Kerala itself there are more than 1,000 Ayurveda centres and there would be several thousands of Ayush treatments centres across the country. More than 95 per cent of the Ayush hospitals are less than 25-bedded facilities and these centres will not be able to afford an accreditation. Lack of insurance coverage will be detrimental for these centres,” said D Induchoodan, Liaison Officer, Ayurveda Hospital Managements Association.
According to him, a centre will have to spend at least Rs 3 lakh for seeking NABH accreditation for a three-year period. This includes the NABH fee, application fee and the travel and accommodation expenses for the assessors. For small centres, this is a huge expense every three year, he said.
Further, the centres incur an equally huge cost for upgrading the infrastructure, human resources management and training to the NABH standards.
“There are around 590 specifications to be satisfied in order to receive an NABH accreditation. This is mandatory for both small and large centres. In case of allopathic healthcare institutions, the number of specifications is significantly less for smaller institutions compared to the bigger ones. Ayush hospitals do not have this advantage,” he added.