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Higher hospital fees lead to improved quality

Update: December, 19/2018 - 09:00
A patient is treated at the HCM City Hospital of Dermatology-Venereology. Source
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY— Fees for more than 1,900 healthcare services for insured patients were raised from 3 per cent to more than 11 per cent at all health facilities in the country on December 15, according to the Ministry of Health.

The fee for health examinations at special-grade hospitals, for instance, are VNĐ3,900 (US$0.17) higher than in previous ones, now totalling VNĐ37,000 (($1.59) for a one-time exam.

Hospitals are classified into grades based on their scale, labour structure, staff capabilities, treatment quality, facilities and equipment. 

At health stations in communes, the fee for a health exam costs VNĐ26,000, an increase of VNĐ2,700.

The price for beds at special-grade hospitals is VNĐ753,000 ($32.3), nearly VNĐ70,000 higher compared to the previous fee.

The fees were raised after the minimum monthly wage for employees nationwide was increased from VNĐ1.15 million to VNĐ1.39 million by the government.  

This is the second adjustment of hospital fees over the last five months. In July, the ministry reduced fees for 70 healthcare services, ranging from 6 per cent to 24 per cent.

According to Nguyễn Nam Liên, director of the ministry’s Planning and Finance Department, hospital fees cover the direct costs and salaries of medical staff.

The fees were previously calculated based on the basic salary in 2013, or VNĐ1.15 million. After the salary was raised in July, the ministry proposed increasing the fees to cover salaries for medical staff.

Hospital fees, which will also go toward management costs, will depend on the balance of the health insurance fund. They could rise or fall each year, depending on patient demand.

The health insurance fund covers the new fees so insured patients are not affected. Patients without health insurance have been urged to buy a health insurance card.

Nearly 85 per cent of people in the country have health insurance.

Healthcare service quality has improved compared to previous year. The ministry’s surveys on patient satisfaction showed that more patients were satisfied with their healthcare services and treatment.

Improved quality

Among the hospitals with improved quality is the Hùng Vương Hospital in HCM City’s District 5, which will open a new facility next year.

The hospital has taken steps to ensure patients’ safety and satisfaction, while its red alert programme has saved pregnant women with severe health problems

The HCM City Hospital of Dermatology-Venereology has also carried out activities to improve examinations and treatments, and has upgraded its facilities to make them green, clean and beautiful.

Many display screens were set up in the hospital’s areas for patients to look for directions of rooms and offices.  

The number of outpatients at the hospital rose more than 110 per cent compared to last year.

In addition, the Department of Health’s assessment showed that Bình Thạnh District Hospital has upgraded toilets as part of its improvement plan.

The department also positively assessed Bình Dân Hospital’s new medical equipment as well as its nurses and doctors, who now take care of patients in the intensive care units instead of patients’ relatives.

Dr Hồ Mạnh Tường, general secretary of the HCM City Society for Reproductive Medicine, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that hospital fees paid for the fund to improve the quality of healthcare services.

An increase of more than 10 per cent, however, is rather low for hospital costs, accordingto Tường. —VNS

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