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Healthcare seems better to patients after fee rise

Update: September, 23/2014 - 09:40
Many hospital patients appear happy with improvements to their medical services following a 20 per cent raise in healthcare costs. — Photo healthplus

by Nguyen Thuy

HA NOI (VNS) — Many hospital patients appear happy with improvements to their medical services following a 20 per cent raise in healthcare costs.

A recent Government decision increased fees for 1,350 different services at public hospitals and clinics.

Numbers of patients seeking treatment have not declined since the August 10 fee increase, said Nguyen Dinh Hung, the deputy director of Ha Noi-based Saint Paul hospital whose 85 per cent of patients have insurance. Most patients questioned in the hospital said they had to pay more now for healthcare services.

Of course, the uninsured notice the increases more than the insured, but many said they accepted the rise in hospital fees because the cost of other necessities, such as fuel and food, had also risen.

"Improvements have been made in health examination procedures," Hung told Viet Nam News.

Mirroring Hung's statement, most patients or patients' relatives said the fee increase had resulted in higher quality medical services.

Saint Paul Hospital's facilities had vastly improved, said Phung Van Tung, 70, from Hoai Duc District, who was treated for diabetes.

Nguyen Van Thanh, 60, from Phu Xuyen District, approved of the facilities at Ha Dong General Hospital, where his veteran brother was treated. Thanh said health procedures were more efficient since the rise, but he was dissatisfied with the behavior of some medical workers.

"Some nurses seem impatient with patients and sometimes they do not explain the procedures clearly to us, causing us to run from here to there," he said.

The rise in fees greatly affected patients who did not have health insurance, he said.

"The patient in the sick-bed next to my brother does not have insurance and he must pay VND300,000 (US$14) a day for the bed. He complained that the fee is as much as his salary for two working days as a builder," Thanh said.

Generally, employers buy health insurance for their workers, but the unemployed or partially employed must pay for their own. The head of Ha Dong General Hospital's planning department, Nguyen Thi Cuong, said: "We encourage them to buy health insurance because the social health insurance company will pay 70 per cent of the hospital fees if they are admitted to a hospital where their insurance cards are registered," she said.

The Government has also encouraged people to purchase health insurance, aiming to reach the national health insurance programme's goal of 80 per cent insured by 2020, according to Decision No 538/QD-TTg. — VNS

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