HCMC public hospitals set to hike fees

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health said facilities and treatment quality have been enhanced at public hospitals ahead of the increase in fees from June 1.

At a meeting with the People's Council’s Culture-Social Department on May 16, a health official said to justify the fee hike, the health sector has taken measures like increasing the number of examination rooms and doctors' working hours and issuing medical insurance cards with bar codes.

The fees went up at government hospitals nationwide on April 15 based on a central decision in 2012.

But because of the economic situation, HCMC authorities deferred the hikes by a few months.

The new fee schedule will take effect in the 378 public hospitals and clinics in HCMC, with those for examination and checks, the daily cost of a sickbed, tests, and many other services rising to 75 percent of the rates that will come into effect in 2016.

The fees for 1,519 operational services will increase by 65 percent.

On June 1 next year they will go up to 85 percent and 75 percent respectively, and a year later to 100 percent.

The health sector estimates that 63 percent of city residents are covered by medical insurance and the new rates will not have much impact on their lives.

They include low income families and children under six who are all covered.

The Department of Health has set up teams to monitor treatment quality at hospitals, an official said, adding they would start with Nguyen Trai, Gia Dinh, and Children’s Hospital No.1.

The inspectors would ensure that patients' rights are protected and verify if hospitals use 15 percent of their revenues to improve facilities and build new wards.

By Ngọc Minh - tranalated by Uyen Phuong

Other news