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Private hospitals call on government to cover costs of caring for Covid patients



PHOTO: Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

Thailand’s private hospitals say that if the government would help cover the medical costs of Covid-19 patients, private facilities could help ease the burden on the public health system. The Bangkok Post reports that Pongpat Patanavanich from TPP Healthcare International, which owns MedPark Hospital, says medical costs at private hospitals are too high for those with limited budgets.

According to Pongpat, the average cost of treatment for a Covid-19 patient can rise to more than 200,000 baht over a 14-day period. And this is only in the case of people whose condition is stable and who only require monitoring. In the case of patients in intensive care, the cost is even higher. He points out that around 60% of Bangkok’s hospital beds are in private hospitals. The government currently subsidies around 30 – 50% of the medical costs per patient, which Pongpat says is not enough to cover the costs incurred by private hospitals. He is calling for the subsidy to be increased to 80% for private hospital care, which would allow more private hospitals to treat Covid-19 sufferers.

“That budget might be reasonable for medical services in public hospitals but is not practical for private hospitals because we have high costs such as salaries of medical personnel. Public hospitals don’t include this cost as their staff have their salary paid by the Comptroller General’s Department.”

As hospitals in Bangkok struggle with bed shortages, Pongpat says people with only mild symptoms can self-isolate at home, while receiving advice from medical practitioners. He says the government must drop the rule that forces hospitals to admit everyone who tests positive for the virus, pointing out that busy hospitals are getting around this by simply stopping testing. Furthermore, he says adequate vaccine procurement is essential and the government needs to be more proactive in this regard.

“Some countries that have vaccine shortages like Thailand have enrolled in a borrowing scheme. They are asking other countries with large stockpiles to offer jabs to them first as they will return the same amount to them later.”

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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