The Private Hospital Association has demanded the reimbursement rate for emergency patients under three different state-run health schemes be increased.
The association has sent the request to the National Health Security Office and Public Health Ministry, NHSO secretary-general Dr Winai Sawadiworn said.
The responsible organisations would meet to determine the “real” cost of emergency treatment, he said.
Dr Winai said many private hospitals have complained in the past three months of providing services for emergency cases at a loss. He said the private hospitals could face problems when transferring patients to hospitals affiliated with their health schemes because some of those hospitals do not have enough beds to accommodate them.
Private hospitals receive reimbursement for treatment costs in the event that a coordination centre fails to transfer a patient within 24 hours to a hospital to which the patient subscribes under the health care scheme.
The full reimbursement payment is made by the health scheme to which the patient concerned belongs.
The government has set the reimbursement for each emergency case treated within the first 24 hours at 10,500 baht.
No new rate has been proposed by private hospitals, said Dr Winai, adding that the the NHSO’s primary solution is to request other private hospitals to receive patients.
The Health Ministry said 2,714 emergency patients subscribing to the Civil Servant’s Welfare Fund, the Social Security Fund and the National Health Security Fund sought medical treatment at private hospitals between April 1 and June 28.
Reimbursement for the private hospitals totalled 26 million baht, with the average monthly expense coming to 10 million baht, permanent secretary for public health Paijit Warachit said.
He said the expense was about the same as if the patients were to be treated through the normal system.
However, the patients’ ability to receive emergency care promptly at private hospitals should help them recover sooner and save lives in more than 96% of the cases.
The problem which has emerged since the introduction of free emergency treatment for all on April 1 was that once the private hospitals treat the patients to the point where their lives are no longer in immediate danger, they are unable to transfer them to the hospitals to which they subscribe under their health schemes.
Arranging beds normally takes up two days, Mr Paijit said. He said the private hospitals are asking for this period to be cut to one day to save money.
The Health Ministry and the NHSO are now working with public hospitals in Bangkok and surrounding provinces and two private hospitals to take in these patients to solve the problem, he said.