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VN's hospital fees to rise next year

Update: November, 23/2015 - 17:29
The Ministry of Health will raise hospital fees in January 2016. — Photo
HA NOI — The Ministry of Health will increase hospital fees in early 2016, instead of December this year, Nguyen Nam Lien, head of the ministry's Department of Planning and Finance, said.

Lien said the Ministry needed more time to improve its software for collecting hospital fees.

"Over the last few weeks, the Ministry has worked with hospitals and decided that the increase in fees should be applied in two separate phases: one starting in early 2016, with those who have signed up for health insurance, and the other starting in mid-2016, with those who do not have a health insurance card. That's why we need to have perfectly working software to avoid all potential mistakes," he said.

The Ministry also hopes that people will have more time to sign up for health insurance.

With this fee increase, patients will pay two to four times more than they presently do when using healthcare services at state-owned hospitals in Viet Nam.

The hospital fee hike is necessary because all expenses directly related to medical examinations and the treatment of patients as well as various allowances for health workers will now be counted in the rates for some 1,800 medical services available at public hospitals, Pham Luong Son, head of the agency's department for health insurance policy implementation, said.

For example, bed charges at first-class and specialist hospitals will double to VND677,000 (US$30.3) per day in intensive care units and to VND197,000-306,000 (US$8.8-13.7) per day in other wards, Son said.

Similarly, the cost of stomach flushing will rise from the current VND30,000 (US$1.34) to VND106,000 (US$4.75), the official said.

The new pricing scheme will also cover salaries for doctors and wages for other health workers, Lien said.

The hospital fee hike is a burden on people without health insurance, so the Ministry of Health has decided that the new prices will not be applied for uninsured patients until the middle of next year.

Currently, 73 per cent of the country's population is covered by health insurance, which means some 25 million people are having to pay hospital fees on their own.

From now until the middle of 2016, the concerned agencies have been requested to take steps to encourage and support people in getting health insurance. — VNS


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