Come January 1, 2019, the health establishments in Kerala will have an online registration portal, where patients can know the cost of medical treatments and compare the medical facilities provided by each hospital, among others, KK Shailaja, Minister of Health and Social Justice, said. This move follows the Kerala Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2017, which was passed by the Kerala Legislative Assembly on February 1, 2018.
Speaking to TNM, the Kerala minister said that this new system will help establish a fair medical practice in the state. â€śThis will improve the public health sector in the state. People can know in detail what facility a hospital can provide and know its cost, too,â€ť KK Shailaja said, adding that a special cell will also be set up to address complaints from the public.
According to the minister, the other states in India have not implemented this initiative and this will be the first time in Kerala that a state-wide registration is being implemented. She adds that this facility will help collect data from clinical establishments for better policy formulations, planning, implementation, response and evaluation.
What the Clinical Establishments Act mandates
According to Act, while registering, a health institution must upload details such as the type of medical treatment it provides, its cost, the qualification of the doctor, the number of staff and paramedics at the institution. The Act also mandates the hospital to display the cost of medical treatment at its own facility, in addition to the online portal, which is developed by the National Informatics Centre.
â€śClinical establishments across all recognised systems of medicine will be covered under the new Act,â€ť the minister told the TNM.
Under the Clinical Establishments Act, modern medicine, including dentistry, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Homoeopathy, Siddha and Unani, in the public and private sectors, are different branches.
According to the minister, all establishments owned, controlled or managed by the government, a trust (public or private), individual proprietorship, a partnership firm, corporation registered under a central, provincial or state a local authority fall under the Act.
A clinical establishment includes a hospital, maternity home, nursing home, clinic, sanatorium or an institution that offers services, facilities with or without beds requiring treatment, diagnosis, or care for illness, injury, deformity, abnormality, dental care, infertility or pregnancy, administered or maintained by any person or body of persons.
However, the clinical establishments owned, controlled or managed by the Armed Forces as well as the clinical establishments that offer only consultation services will not be covered under this Act.
The Kerala health minister also said that one can compare the cost and facilities and choose a hospital for treatment accordingly. For this, Rajeev Sadanandan IAS, Additional Chief Secretary at the Department of Health and Family Welfare, told TNM that they are already in talks with a few start-ups to make the system more people-friendly.
â€śIf all goes well, then the public would be able to assess the hospital facilities and the cost of treatment, compare them through mobile apps,â€ť the official said.
If the health institution does not upload the details, it will be penalised and fined. If an institution continues to violate the Clinical Establishments Act, the health ministry will shut it down.
In the first stage, this system will be implemented in three district - Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram. It will be set up in other districts eventually.