New norms for Ayurveda care...

Medical reimbursement for inpatient treatment will now be available at only select private Ayurveda hospitals in the State in view of the modified guidelines of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). The guidelines issued on November 26 said that the reimbursement facility at hospitals in the Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) sectors is subject to the certification by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers (NABH).

AYUSH hospitals should obtain either a pre-entry-level certificate or a higher-entry-level certificate issued by NABH or a State-level certificate or a higher-level certificate under the National Quality Assurance Standards issued by the National Health Systems Resources Centre. All the hospitals have been given a deadline of a year to comply with the guidelines.

This is likely to affect small private hospitals in the Ayurveda sector in the State as only over a dozen of the total 1,000 such institutions are NABH certified. Another dozen are in the process of getting it, a functionary of a North Kerala-based Ayurvedic cooperative society told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Sources said that only around 70 private Ayurvedic hospitals had been certified by the NABH across the country. The Kerala government has a Kerala Accreditation Standards for Hospitals (KASH) system to grade government hospitals. Around a dozen government, AYUSH hospitals have been certified by KASH.

However, as the treatment is free at these hospitals, the issue of reimbursement does not arise there, the sources said. The cooperative society functionary pointed out that hospitals under modern medicine had two slabs – those above 50 beds and below 50 beds – for certification.  AYUSH hospitals had only one slab. A majority of small hospitals in the sector would find it difficult to meet the criteria for certification, fulfilling which was expensive.

A majority of them would be forced to shut shop and this could affect small and medium scale manufacturers too. A solution could be to include private AYUSH hospitals within the ambit of KASH, he added.

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