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Why is private healthcare opposing the Clinical Establishments Act?

Why is private healthcare opposing the Clinical Establishments Act?

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) ACT, 2010 
 

The act has been enacted by the Central Government to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.

Reasons for the opposition:

  • It is impossible to deliver on the law’s requirements. It requires private hospitals and clinics to provide standard facilities and yet charge minimum fees.
  • The law also requires hospitals and clinics to stabilise patients, who are in a critical condition—those who are in danger of dying.
  • This is not possible for all, as it requires certain degree of specialisation.
  • Small-time practitioners, for instance, can only offer preliminary care and first aid. If the law is implemented, it will affect such practitioners, who cater to 80 per cent of the people seeking healthcare.

Enforcement:

  • Enforcement of CEA is a problem because health is a state subject and states are succumbing to the pressure of the private healthcare sector.
  • The latest 2015 survey by the National Sample Survey Office also suggests that due to the dismal condition of public healthcare services people depend on private facilities for the treatment of more than 70 per cent of ailments—72 per cent in rural areas and 79 per cent in urban areas.
  • And the private health sector is not shying away from cashing in on this mad rush. Projections by global market research analyst Frost & Sullivan show that the worth of private healthcare industry is expected to reach US $280 billion in 2020 from the current $45 billion.
  • Several politicians have invested in private healthcare industry and are hand in glove with the money-minting private hospitals. For instance, Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra is facing serious allegation over his alleged involvement in a controversial medical college scam. 
  • Even states like Karnataka and West Bengal that took their own initiative to regulate the private healthcare sector are feeling the heat. To make it stringent, the government in December 2017 amended the law. But this spurred protests, following which the state government has diluted it.
  • So far, West Bengal is the only state that has managed to rein in private hospitals and clinics through the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Act, 2017.

 

Way forward:
As states are dilly-dallying the implementation of laws to regulate the health sector, the Centre should establish an authority on the lines of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or the National Green Tribunal, which can ensure their proper implementation and take action against defaulters, says Pinto. CEA, if implemented in letter and spirit, can go a long way in checking corruption in the healthcare industry. 

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