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Overpriced medical care could bring down Thai health system

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  • Overpriced medical care could bring down Thai health system

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this , but here goes

    Critics call for standardised fees at private hospitals, notably for drugs

    THOUSANDS of Thai patients are checking out of private hospitals with hefty bills - creating many doubters who blame the "medical tourism policy" which attracts a growing number of patients from higher-income nations.

    The Medical Council, however, cautions critics to think twice before trying to disrupt Thailand's booming medical tourism sector.

    Viroj Na Ranong, a public health economist with the Thailand Development Research Institute, said the major reason for soaring medical treatment prices at private hospitals was the medical hub policy.

    And the government's move to control medicine prices and standardise private hospitals' medical care costs had yet to consider the effect of medical tourism.

    "The arrival of medical tourists from abroad who are willing to pay high treatment costs allows private hospitals to make a profit from these rich customers by increasing treatment costs," Viroj explained.

    Preeyanan Lorsermvattana, president of Thai Medical Error Network, said: "They [the hospitals] don't have to care if this expensive medical treatment will affect Thai patients because they still have rich foreign patients."

    The medical hub policy should be reconsidered, she said, because private hospitals are focusing more on foreign customers who can be charged 50 per cent higher than Thai patients. As a result, the overall outlook for fees would be an increase for local patients in order to keep a balance.

    Viroj suggested the government tackle the problem by implementing a medical tax on tourists to lower their purchasing power, forcing private hospitals to cut their treatment fees.

    "The money from collecting this tax could also be spent on our medical system and invested in the training of new doctors," he said.

    Medical Council secretary-general Dr Samphan Komrit had a different view.

    "The medical hub policy is the only hope for Thailand to be among the world's best [for medical services]. [Medical tourism] is a very profitable business, which generates more than Bt1 billion in profit for the country annually. Would you just stop this policy because hospital costs were expensive?" Samphan said.

    According to the Public Health Ministry and Kasikorn Research Centre, 2.5 million international patients received medical treatment in Thailand in 2012, generating up to Bt140 billion in income. Thailand claimed to be the world's first destination for medical tourism.

    But Preeyanan has warned that the whole Thai healthcare system could collapse because of overpriced medical care in private hospitals.

    Action needed to undertaken to save the health system, she said, such as the setting up of a central agency to be a clearing house, careful pricing for medicines and reconsidering the medical policy to ensure the problem is solved.

    "If the problem [of overpriced healthcare] is not solved in time, this could be mark the end of the government medical system - because all kinds of charges including medical fees, services and for medicine would have to increase, according to private hospitals," she warned.

    She suggested that a "price control panel" should limit medical fees at private hospitals to a fair price, and said they should separate fees for medicine from other services. Also, the price for medicines should not be more than 15 per cent above prices at state hospitals.

    She emphasised the importance of setting prices for medical drugs. The central price for all drugs had to be carefully calculated according to the sale price at state hospitals nationwide and pharmacies, as well as the budget price of each drug. A possible obstacle may be if drug companies conspire with private hospitals to increase medicine prices.

    The Medical Council's Samphan said substantial measures were required but warned that they could be harmful to private hospitals if efforts to tackle such problems were unclear.

    He highlighted "free emergency healthcare", saying it was a good policy, but noted that definitions of "critical" or "emergency" were not clearly stated.

    "This would cause a problem right after the policy is implemented. Some people could go to the nearest hospital, claim they have a serious health problem which indeed was not that serious - and the result would be wasted time for medical staff, the patients themselves and those really in a critical condition."

    He said the medicine price control policy was good and quite fair to all stakeholders. However, the ministry had to be clear on how to set the price of each medicine because there was not only the cost of drugs - hospitals also had to pay for management and service costs too.

    "People who go to private hospitals know they have to spend more money there than in a public hospital to receive better care. What we should do is to make sure private hospitals do not charge too much with unclear billing - and [we need to] strengthen our National Health Security system to let the people have access to quality but cheap healthcare," he said.

    Source -

    Ive on several occasions have been to a Private hospital in Pattaya to seek medical attention , the over all medical experience and service was acceptable , but the medical fee's charged and out patient drug costs were sky high and on occasion I stood my ground and queried the amounts and charges , only to be given a reduced invoice.

    ↂ if there was a clock in my under pants, it would be at high noon ↂ

  • #2
    I found the Thai health to be a load more cheaper than back home. Even with the NHS, you will die waiting for an appointment so what is the difference really.


    • #3
      I found that if you need to see a 'specialist' it was far cheaper to see them in their private clinic (including the drugs) than it was to see them in a private hospital. Even if there is an operation involved in the same hospital, by seeing the specialist as a private patient through their own clinic, to total costs were far less. I wont name names, but one doctor suggested I did this, after I complained how much the treatment/drugs cost when I saw them in the hospital.
      After that saving (over 60%) I always found whatever doctor I/wife wanted to see at whatever private hospital, and then saw them first in their private clinic. Obviously this doesn't apply if you are taken to the hospital in an emergency - but who cares how much it is going to cost then anyway.

      The vast majority of specialist Doctors in Thailand, in both private and public hospitals, do not only practice in that hospital. They work at different places on different days, and the better ones usually also have their own clinic. To save on the costs of an operation, if there is a good public hospital involved, then research what specialist practices at that public hospital and then go and see them in their private clinic. Then ask them if they can do the procedure in the public hospital, rather than in a private one (less costs passed on to you).

      I was told that specialist Doctors make more money from their own private patients in a public hospital, that they do when they are seeing a patient in a private hospital that is 'owned' by the hospital itself. The majority of charges involved are kept by the private hospital. This is just one of the many reasons specialists practice and several hospitals, and from their own clinic. Be aware that some specialists also finish at the hospital at say 4/5pm and then go and see patients at their private clinic 6pm to 8/9pm. It is rare that they are available all day in their private clinic - maybe 1 or 2 days a week (depending on demand).
      If I dont respond it is because: A) Libtard; B) Blocked Libtard; C) Playing Golf


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