Fake documents for hospital accreditation, NABH warns of stern action

  • Taking note of complaints of shoddy service and unethical practices at certain hospitals, NABH has issued a warning to healthcare organizations that it will withhold or withdraw accreditation and certification if they are found to have submitted falsified documents during the application process

Somrita Ghosh
First Published20 May 2024
 Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, NABH.
Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, NABH.

New Delhi: Healthcare institutions have received a stern warning from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH), not to submit altered or falsified documentation during the accreditation and empanelment process. The warning, issued on 15 March, came after the accreditation body received a number of complaints of unethical practices against certain hospitals.

NABH has stated—in a notice that was made public on 16 May and reviewed by Mint—that it has received multiple complaints from various quarters regarding some hospitals engaging in practices that are not only unethical but also unlawful. 

NABH is a constituent board of Quality Council of India. It was set up in 2005 to establish and operate the accreditation programme for hospitals and healthcare organizations in India.

“The Hospitals are submitting tampered documents/forged Licenses to NABH, Empanelling agencies/Regulatory bodies for the purpose of obtaining accreditation and empanelment respectively,” the regulatory body for accreditations and quality check of hospitals stated in its notice. “We wish to emphasize that such actions undermine the integrity of the accreditation process and compromise the trust that our stakeholders place in NABH as a quality brand,” it added. 

Also Read: NABH encouraging hospitals to adopt clean practices, promoting climate action

Taking note of such instances, the NABH has informed all healthcare organizations that it would reject any accreditation or certification application or withdraw the accreditation or certification of an institution with immediate effect and debar them from re-applying for accreditation/certification under any programme of the NABH, for a minimum period of five years and/or initiate legal action against them, if they are found to have applied using falsified documents.

NABH had not yet responded to the queries emailed by Mint.

“NABH has zero-tolerance towards any form of tampering/forgery or falsification of documents including manipulation of Accreditation & Scope Certificate issued by NABH or submission of forged documents/licenses,” the notice issued by Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO of NABH, stated. “Further, NABH will not refrain from publishing the names of defaulter HCOs on the website of NABH. To avoid any adverse action, we urge that all healthcare organizations should strictly adhere to exercise ethical conduct and comply with regulatory requirements,” it added.

The NABH has stated in its letter that maintaining transparency and honesty is crucial for upholding the credibility of the accreditation/ certification process. "NABH is committed to uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity in healthcare delivery, ensuring that patient safety and quality of care remain paramount. We urge all partner hospitals to reaffirm their commitment to ethical practices and strict adherence to NABH guidelines," it stated in the notice.

Separately, the Union government is also mulling a plan to push government hospitals to apply for NABH accreditation.

Also Read: Ayurveda, alternative medicine to get an accreditation nudge

The hospital accreditation programme under NABH was started with an intent to improve healthcare quality and patient safety at public and private hospitals. Subsequently, the programme has grown stronger, with its standards being recognized internationally as being at par with other global healthcare accreditation standards such as those issued by ISQua (International Society for Quality Assurance in Healthcare). The accreditation standards for hospitals focuses on patient safety and quality of the delivery of services by the hospitals in a changing healthcare environment.

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