Beginning in 2007, Indian national and state governments throughout the country introduced new health insurance programs for the poor. The new programs vary greatly in quality and in depth and breadth of coverage. In 2012, ACCESS Health India, together with the World Bank, initiated a project intended to promote a uniform standard of efficient, high quality care. The project helped to define a set of agreed upon and achievable criteria that all can implement.
The seven state health insurance programs that comprise the Standards for Accreditation project identified a total of sixty five standards and 173 objectives that should constitute the agreed upon uniform standards. For the most part, the standards and objectives conform to the criteria of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers. The selected standards and objectives focus on process improvement, transparency, quality of patient care, and evidence based practices, among other areas.
Alignment of standards may improve the quality of care in all the participating states by linking continuation of financing to hospital quality and outcomes. An agreed upon set of standards also enables direct comparisons of performance of the individual insurance programs, which itself may drive quality improvement. These standards will also be valuable to other Indian states and other countries that wish to create similar insurance programs.
At the end of April 2014, the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers formally adopted the standards and objectives identified by ACCESS Health and its partners in this project as the official entry level accreditation standards for government sponsored health insurance programs in India.
Partners for this project are the Aarogyasri Health Care Trust (Andhra Pradesh), the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (Tamil Nadu), Kerala Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers, Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (Maharashtra), Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (Delhi), and the Vaypayee Arogyasri Scheme (Karnataka).