Under a roadmap developed by the Ministry of Health, certain public hospital services will mirror private hospital price tags, Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan told Tin tuc (News) newspaper
Hospital fees were already increased in 2012. Why has the Ministry of Health (MOH) decided to increase the hospital fees again in 2014?
A road map developed by the MoH on hospital fee increases was approved by the Prime Minister and is in line with Decree 85/2012/ND-CP.
Earlier in 2005, the Party Politburo Resolution 46 also stated clearly that "hospital fees must be calculated on the basis of full recovery costs for direct services received by patients."
The 2012 fee adjustment only covered 3 out of the 7 cost elements incurred by patients. They include the cost of medicines, chemicals, consumable materials, electricity and water, equipment maintenance and others.
Principally speaking, the other four cost elements were not included in the 2012 fee adjustment. They are covered by the government.
However, in practice, the state budget allocated to hospitals is not sufficient. As a result, hospitals have to look for different ways to cover various cost factors.
That's the reason why the MoH has drafted a road map to increase the hospital fee during 2014-18 in line with the Government Decree 85.
Under the road map, in 2014 the hospital fee charged to patients will include the bed cost for in-patients and a part of their surgery costs.
In 2015, the charge will further include the medical equipment used for patient treatment; the hospital's management and operation costs; and between 20-30 per cent of the basic salary of hospital staff at provincial hospitals in mountainous regions, in the Central Highlands and district hospitals in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.
From 2016-17, the basic salary cost for staff at provincial hospitals and central government hospitals, as well as district hospitals in the two major cities of Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, will be taken from the hospital fee.
Meanwhile the basic salary cost of staff at the remaining district hospitals nation-wide will be taken from the hospital fee.
After 2018, the full cost recovery policy in the medical service will be applied widely across the board.
What benefits will the patients enjoy after the policy is introduced in 2018?
I believe when the policy is applied the service quality will be improved considerably, as from then on the operation of the hospitals will depend on the patients.
More patients mean more money for hospitals and their staff. And of course, there must be some changes in the staff recruitment as by that time there will be no more financial resources coming from the State budget.
By 2018, the recurrent state budget allocated to hospitals will be switched to support people who have rendered services to the nation, the poor, the ethnic minorities, children under 6 years old and others.
Do you think by 2018 there will be no problem of overcrowded hospitals as at present?
There are various reasons leading to overcrowding. For example, the demand for health care is increasing; transportation has improved; the lack of confidence in the health service at lower levels and others.
I'm totally confident that after 2018, the situation will be much better.
Do you mean the quality of the service will be on a par with the hospital fee increase?
Sure! If we just look back at one year after the hospital fee increase (2012-13), much improvement in the hospital service has been recorded.
A case in point is that all hospitals has allocated 15 per cent of the collected revenue to improve their services, particularly the out patient departments.
In addition, the MoH has issued several guiding documents and the standards of operations (SOP) for the medical staff to apply.
In the meantime, the MoH is resolved to send frequent inspection missions to hospitals to ensure their high quality service.
In the long run, the MoH will switch to case management packages for patients. — VNS