Medical tourism agent regulation has not worked in India

 

The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) issued rules for the certification of medical tourism agents in 2016. By May 2019 only 14 medical tourism agencies have been certified.

NABH has an accreditation programme for medical travel agents to ensure patient safety and improve quality of services offered.

Empanelment of Medical Value Travel for Medical Facilitators (MVTF) accreditation is voluntary and is valid for two years at a time. Empanelment is the provision by an independent body of a certificate that the services being provided by the facilitator meets specific requirements.

The objective of NABH is to initiate programmes focusing on patient safety through a process of self and external evaluation in order to test the accountability and reliability of the facilitators. The empanelment criteria are not prescriptive. They only lay down the requirements and it is up to organisation to come out with the systems, processes and modes of measuring performance indicators that can demonstrate compliance to the requirements specified in the empanelment criteria.

So why have the other 500 or more medical tourism agents not sought accreditation?

The majority of the market is dominated by individual agents and interpreters, who do not have access to multiple providers sending patients just to one hospital; so they are not professional intermediaries but just sales agents for hospitals. Other agents have sought accreditation and failed to complete the process or failed the criteria.

For further analysis of the medical travel market in India, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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