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Govt takes concrete steps to stop overpricing at private hospitals

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Govt takes concrete steps to stop overpricing at private hospitals

By THE NATION

 

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PRIVATE HOSPITALS will no longer be allowed to hit patients with huge bills after authorities introduced clear legal measures yesterday to curb hefty prices.
 

The new regulations, controlling the price of medicines, medical supplies and medical services, went into effect yesterday.

 

Many patients go to private hospitals to avoid the crowds and long queues at state medical facilities, but many find themselves being “ripped off”.

 

Now, with so many complaints filed against private medical facilities, the government can no longer turn a blind eye. Earlier this year, Foundation for Consumers secretary-general Saree Ongsomwang said that in one case, the medical bill went beyond Bt23 million. 

 

In another case, a patient was charged Bt30,000 for a simple diarrhoea complaint. 

 

“If hospitals involve many specialists for simple symptoms, like a headache or stomach ache, only to charge the patients a hefty fee, then that can be grounds for complaint and legal action,” Internal Trade Department’s director-general Wichai Phochanakit said yesterday. 

 

He added that any hospital or executives found guilty of delivering unnecessary treatment and overcharging patients face the risk of seven years in jail and/or a fine of Bt140,000. 

 

From yesterday, hospitals joined importers, exporters, manufacturers and distributors, in having to declare purchasing and selling prices for their goods. The new rules cover 3,892 medicines, medical supplies and medical services listed in the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients. 

 

“The failure to do so will result in a jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of Bt20,000 plus a Bt2,000 daily fine throughout the period of delay,” Wichai explained. He said the prices declared by hospitals will be displayed on his department’s and the hospitals’ websites. 

 

“Private hospitals are also required to display a QR code on their websites so patients can conveniently check the prices,” he continued. 

 

A recent review found that at some private hospitals, medicines were being sold at prices that were 29.33 per cent to 8,766.79 per cent higher than their cost price. In other words, the price difference could be anything between Bt10.83 and Bt28,862 per unit. 

 

For instance, Orfarin costs Bt2 per unit, but is on average sold at some private hospitals for Bt13.7, and in some as much as Bt36 per unit. Amphotericin-B costs Bt452, but is on average sold for Bt937 in some hospitals. The price of the medication can even go as high as Bt2,200 in some places. 

 

“Our new rules aim to ensure fair prices. We will significantly expand the number of medicines, medical supplies and medical services covered under the new regulations,” Wichai said. 

 

He added that from now on, private hospitals must inform patients, if asked, of the estimated cost of treatment. 

 

“Also, under the new regulations, prescriptions must include the generic and trade names of a medicine, what form the medication is in, the amount and consumption instructions,” he said. “Bills should also specify the per-unit price of the medicine.”

 

Wichai added that hospitals failing to comply with this stipulation can face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of Bt100,000. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30370308

 

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The hospitals in the U.S. have been overcharging patients for years and nobody bats an eye.

Great job for Thailand ensuring patients have reasonable prices.

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56 minutes ago, webfact said:

Wichai added that hospitals failing to comply with this stipulation can face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of Bt100,000.

How do you jail a hospital?

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I am so glad it's concrete steps they're taking. Those wooden ones can get really slippy, especially after it rains.

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

Wichai added that hospitals failing to comply with this stipulation can face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of Bt100,000. 

won't change a thing; can't put the hospital in jail and 100K means nothing to them

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I am so glad it's concrete steps they're taking. Those wooden ones can get really slippy, especially after it rains.


Should it not be a ramp?

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Concrete shoes for hospital admin would be more appropriate...

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You are often disappointing with your self centred comments;
many Thai attend these private hospitals ; much more than the farang actually.

It is therefore a very good thing for them and also for their insurance which will have less exorbitant expenses to settle.

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like taxis and bikes on footpaths, this is yet another crackdown forgotten already

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Everytime you get a procedure done at the hospital you will receive this laundry list of charges the will make you scratch your head what were they for, the government with all it's good intentions can not stop the hospitals who are private business and are there to make as much money as quickly as possible, to add some items to the end bill to cover any government restrictions i'm sure...

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Normally its go in for bruised finger and the first question they ask is what type of room would you like, as it would be best to stay one night, to check there will be no complications!

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1 hour ago, YetAnother said:

won't change a thing; can't put the hospital in jail and 100K means nothing to them

But if they took away their licence to operate as a hospital that would be more of an outcome?

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Don't know if this has anything to do with the new measures or whether she just ran into a good doctor but two nights ago my daughter had to take my 6 year-old grandson to hospital to remove something that was stuck in his ear. After trying a local clinic followed by the general hospital, both of whom couldn't remove the object, she ended up at a private hospital.

 

The doctor on duty had two goes at trying to remove it, including putting him in some sort of straightjacket, which he managed to get out of, before calling for an ENT specialist who also tried before concluding that the only way they would be able to get it out would be to give him a general anaesthetic.

 

They were there for over an hour, involved two doctors, including one that had to be called in from home, and at the end of it the hospital charged them.........   nothing!

 

They didn't even pressure her to have the required treatment there, told her they could book him in for 10:30 the following morning but that she was free to go back to the general hospital and get it done there which would be a lot cheaper.

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So they can no longer over charge Thais, so someone needs to make up the shortfall. Bend over falang. 

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