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Hospitals urged to ensure quality after fees drop on July 15

Update: July, 05/2018 - 09:00
Children wait for health examinations at HCM City Paediatrics Hospital 2. —VNA/VNS Photo Phương Vy
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Hospitals in the country have been instructed to ensure health exams and treatment for insured patients as fees for 70 healthcare services will fall on July 15 under a newly issued circular, according to Deputy Minister of Health Phạm Lê Tuấn.

The fees will fall on average from 5 per cent to 24 per cent compared to those issued in 2015.

Examination fees, for instance, will fall by 15 to 20 per cent, or VNĐ4,800 to 5,900 (US$0.21 to 0.26), at hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Bed fees will be reduced by 2 to 10 per cent, depending on the classification of hospitals in the country.

However, bed fees for patients in intensive care departments or those undergoing organ or stem cell transplant procedures will increase slightly to VNĐ687,100 (US$30) from VNĐ677,100 (US$29.60) each day.

Fees for seven other healthcare services will also increase.

This fee adjustment is part of the ministry’s roadmap of calculating healthcare service fees to cover expenses directly related to medical exams and treatment as well as various allowances and salaries for health workers at hospitals, Tuấn said at a conference on the new circular held yesterday in HCM City.

Phạm Lương Sơn, deputy general director of Việt Nam Social Security, said the adjustment would help health insurance funds become more sustainable. 

According to Tuấn, the circular could affect hospitals’ turnover, so health facilities should take steps to save money as they are now financially autonomous.

Nguyễn Nam Liên, head of the ministry’s Department of Planning and Finance, told Việt Nam News on the sidelines of the conference: “Hospitals should use their money effectively in buying medicine and medical materials and use human resources carefully.”

“It is very important that they ensure quality for health examination and treatment.”

Provincial and district-level hospitals nationwide have attracted a large number of insured patients thanks to improved quality in health examination and treatment via the ministry’s programmes.

Moreover, concentrated bidding for medicine and medical materials has led to a reduction in hospital’s expenditures, he said.

For these reasons, the ministry, along with the Ministry of Finance and Việt Nam Social Security, decided to reduce fees of many healthcare services, Liên said.

Dương Tuấn Đức of Việt Nam Social Security said that many hospitals would increase the number of patients examined by one doctor in order to ensure financial stability. This would result in doctors seeing patients for less time than before.

“This will be a shortcoming. The benefits of patients will be affected,” Đức said, adding that Việt Nam Social Security is suggesting that the Ministry of Health should address this issue.

As of the first six months of the year, the country’s health insurance coverage had reached 86.9 per cent of the population. —VNS



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