NABH sets new entry-level standards for Accreditation of Hospitals

Source: The Hindu

The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has released a new batch of entry-level standards for accreditation of smaller hospitals. As the name suggests, Entry Level Standards are meant for hospitals who want to get started on the quality certification journey, but are unable to do so due to the stringent requirements of the full NABH accreditation.

“The whole idea behind introducing this new set of standards is to become more inclusive; to get a number of hospitals to join the quality journey. With the full set of NABH standards, recognised by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare [ISQua] many smaller hospitals cannot even hope to apply for,” explains K.K.Kalra, CEO, NABH. Currently, there are only 227 hospitals with NABH accreditation, and about 1200 in various stages of application.

The new standards will be a foot in the door for a number of small hospitals who find the rigor of the NABH full standards beyond their capacity. At the same time, Dr. Kalra hastens to reassure those in the field that there will be no dilution of standards whatsoever.

“There are two types of new standards: One, for hospitals with over 50 beds, and two, for small hospitals with less than 50 beds. While the full NABH has 102 Standards and 636 Objective Elements, there are about 45 Standards and 173 Objective Elements for 50-bedded hospitals and 41 Standards and 149 Objective Elements for less than 50 beds,” he adds.

It is by no means easy to get accreditation even at the entry level without adhering to a set of regulations, Dr. Kalra says, and without hard work on the part of the hospital, it will not be possible.

The NABH standards were put in place about seven years ago to provide quality assessments for hospitals in the country. The NABH accreditation has been viewed as the ideal qualifying criteria for selection or empanelment by the Ministry of Tourism, Central Government Health Services, several public and private insurance companies.

In fact, a number of insurance companies are considering making the entry level standards the bare minimum for empanelment of hospitals, Dr. Kalra added. Once the smaller hospitals get in the race, they can even work on moving to full NABH accreditation. “But this is the entry point. Small hospitals in small cities too have a right to joining the quality race. Why should they be kept out?”

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