Hospitals race to increase fees

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Báo Dân Trí English - 34 month(s) ago 4 readings

Hospitals race to increase fees

Despite different levels of quality and service, many hospitals in Vietnam have planned to raise medical fees to the highest allowable under current regulation.

Hospitals plan to increase hospital fees to the highest rates possible

Race to "the top"

The Ministry of Health has recently issued a price list of 447 hospital fees as reference for clinics and hospitals nationwide.

On April 24, the Hanoi Department of Health held a meeting with local health officials to make sure that the list reflected real expenses.

Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Xuyen, Deputy Minister of Health, said, “The ministry’s recently issued circular that stipulates methods for calculating hospital fees in order to prevent hospitals from applying inordinately high rates. Only 'top-ranking' hospitals would be able to apply the the highest fees. Other clinics and hospitals should not increase their prices as much.”

However, according to Nguyen Minh Thao, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, up to now, almost all hospitals have drawn out plans to increase hospital fees to the highest rates possible, and are waiting for approval from local governments.

An anonymous director of a hospital in Hanoi said many hospitals planned to apply the highest fee increase permitted.

Many hospitals claimed that, despite different quality levels, they share the same high expenses as other medical facilities. Some hospitals have even sought to increase fees to a level which exceeds the regulated cap by 20%.

Solutions needed

Pham Luong Son, an official in charge of health insurance policy implementation, emphasised that hospitals need to make public their price lists to patients and that they are not allowed to add surcharges.

He added that the council for hospital fee appraisal should issue regulations on hospital classification so that fee limits can be more fairly applied, taking the patients' interests into mind.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen requested that hospitals increase oversight of fee collections in order to prevent possible misconduct.

“Some hospitals at local levels have yet to correctly understand the ministry’s regulation on new hospital fees. To improve the situation, the ministry will issue more documents to guide their implementation. The principle of the hospital fee increase is to improve service quality and give better service to patients," Xuyen added.

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