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Health Minister responds on-line to public medical service fees

Update: March, 16/2012 - 12:08

HA NOI – Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien answered questions from the public today during an online dialogue on the Government website: www.chinhphu.vn.

The dialogue is focused on health insurance, benefits and impacts of the recent increase in cost of nearly 450 medical services. Such changes affect everyone, especially the poor, ethnic minorities and those with chronic diseases.

In response to the numerous concerns relating to service fee adjustments, Tien stressed the sustained pressure that the health sector has felt to update their more than 3,000 services which have not changed since 1995.

"To date, basic wages have increased 6.9 times and the cost of medical materials has also gone up," said Tien.

The minister said that low medical service fees greatly impact the quality of health examinations and treatments, as current patient payments could not sustain a hospital's development. In addition, low quality medical services do not encourage people to purchase health insurance.

Prices of nearly 450 medical services will increase between 2-6 times starting April 15.

Trinh Minh Thanh from Tan Phuoc District, Tien Giang Province raised the question of why the Government decided to increase medical service fees at a time of difficulty in the country.

In his answer, Tien said that his biggest concerns were those living in poverty, close to the poverty, ethnic minority people, and those living in remote areas. The poor will be provided free health insurance cards by the Government and have to pay only 5 per cent of medical examination and treatment fees. The nearly poor will receive a 75 per cent reduction in cost on their health insurance cards from the State. The recently issued Decision 14 will also support ethnic and minority people, people living in remote areas as well as those suffering from chronic illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure or those in need of heart surgery.-VNS  (To be continued... )

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