In order to reduce pressure placed on central hospitals, the basic medical services package at commune-level medical facilities will be implemented from December, 2017.
|A local resident receives a health check-up at Thái Nguyên Province’s Tân Hương Commune. - Photo vietnamplus.vn
The package, including prevention, consultation and treatment services for all citizens, is fully covered by Việt Nam Social Security.
According to the agency’s data, only 19 per cent of health insurance card holders register commune-level medical facilities as their initial places for examination and treatment, while only three per cent of the social insurance fund pays for medical services at those centres.
The shortage of services and skilled medical staff is the main reason for this phenomenon. Therefore, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Việt Nam Social Security collaborated to develop this basic medical services package as a solution.
Thereby, people can access 76 basic services and 241 types of medicines at commune-level medical facilities.
Through the package, diabetic patients, instead of going to hospitals, can receive medicines at local medical centres.
Đoàn Văn Bôn, a diabetic patient in northern Hải Dương Province, is interested in this initiative. “Since the district hospital is seven kilometres away from my house, I miss appointments sometimes. Therefore, it is more convenient for me that near-by medical centre start distributing necessary medicines,” he said.
Schools also stand to benefit from the policy. As kindergartens and primary schools are commonly located next to medical facilities, students can access better medical services.
According to Lê Văn Khảm, head of the Social Insurance Department under MoH, that the basic medical services package also helps people save money and motivates local medical facilities to enhance their capabilities.
With all expenses paid by the State budget and local budget, the initiative aims to satisfy 70 per cent of people’s healthcare demands at local medical facilities. At present, the related agencies are planning to review the quality of medical services.
Moreover, Bằng recommended proposing further policies to support subordinate medical facilities such as doctor rotation or satellite hospitals.
Vietnamese people have to pay 40 per cent for medical expenses while, according to the World Health Organisation, a medical system becomes unequal when it requires people to pay more than half of medical expenses. The reasonable rate recommended is 30 per cent. Việt Nam plans to reduce it to 35 per cent by 2020.