All patients should be treated equally regardless of who pays their bills, Nguyen Khac Hien, director of the Ha Noi Health Bureau, told Ha Noi moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper
What are the initial successes of the socialisation of health care financing in Ha Noi?
In this case, socialisation means that public hospitals in the city have entered into joint ventures with other partners to procure medical equipment. This is in line with Circular 15/2007 issued on December 12, 2007 by the Ministry of Health. Notable successes include training and recruitment of high quality staff.
Even though many public hospitals are overloaded with inpatients, they allocate considerable space for people who pay out of pocket. What's your position on this?
This is unacceptable! This kind of treatment creates inequality between patients using health insurance cards and patients who pay medical bills out of pocket.
Under instructions from the Ha Noi Health Bureau, the use of assets in joint ventures or cash contributions to procure medical equipment must be absolutely separated from those of public hospitals. However, in reality, not all health care units have strictly abided by the documents.
What measures should be introduced to help avoid the duskiness between private and public financing?
Socialisation of health care financing has both positive and negative results. It requires transparency and accountability in order to avoid any mishaps. If a problem occurs, the patient's interest must be protected.
In addition, it is important to raise awareness about the Government's policy on the socialisation of health care financing, particularly among health workers, investors and patients themselves.
Low-quality health care facilities do not face any administrative penalty from authorities. How do you respond to that?
People who operate these facilities have to take responsibility for their staff. In the near future, the Ha Noi Health Bureau will ask all hospitals to review health care financing activities at public hospitals. Meanwhile, the Ha Noi Health Bureau will frequently dispatch teams to inspect these facilities to ensure they abide by the law. It is strictly prohibited for public hospital staff to suggest patients use medical equipment in private facilities that is available in public hospitals.
Do you think in the present context of Viet Nam, the socialisation of health care financing can happen outside public hospitals?
It can indeed! This is one way for all patients to be treated fairly, whether they pay using health insurance or out of pocket. — VNS