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DMA writes to Labour Min about new ESIC conditions for healthcare organisations

New Delhi: The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) has written to the Union Labour Minister, claiming that the new selection norms of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) only consider big, corporate-run hospitals, thus eliminating small hospital and nursing homes that provide state-of-the-art medical care, albeit at a smaller scale.

The DMA, registering its protest with the Labour Minister, Santosh Kumar Gangwar, said, "We are quite surprised to note in the tender notice dated July 8, 2019, the eligibility criteria for participating in the said tender process is per se arbitrary, discriminatory."

The medical association here in Delhi has also objected to the mandatory NABL/NABH accreditation, which is now required for healthcare organisations. Their argument goes along the lines that both these accrediting organisations are private bodies that have nothing to do with the ESIC of the Government of India. "It is not understood as to how a government body like ESIC can mandatorily require a certification from a private body as a precondition for empanelment," the DMA letter said.

Moreover, another bone of contention for the association is that the new conditions also requires a minimum of 100 beds for multi-speciality hospitals and 50 beds for single-speciality or super-speciality hospitals. "This condition is not only discriminatory and without any specific basis but has also limited the number of eligible hospitals to a fraction, thereby denying better options to patients," the letter read.

According to the DMA, the new empanelment tender also provides to pay empanelled healthcare organisations at CGHS rates while currently diagnostic services like radiology and pathology services are already being sourced by DMD/Model hospitals of ESIC at discounted rates of 10 to 25 percent. The DMA letter said, "This may lead to avoidable loss of crores to the ESIC and the public exchequer. This decision has been taken without approval from ESIC headquarters."

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