Hospitals benefiting from double revision

May 25, 2023 | 22:00
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While the shortfall of medical devices at hospitals has eased since new rules were introduced in March, more improvements are required to further facilitate the healthcare sector.
Hospitals benefiting from double revision
Some medical machines had expired contracts but are now back in use, photo Le Toan

Until recently, the 256-segment computerised tomography system had been unused for months, as it is classed as joint venture equipment with an expired contract. However, use of the system was restarted after Decree No.07/2023/ND-CP and Resolution No.30/NQ-CP both came into being in the first week of March.

The system is one of many medical devices either under joint venture contracts or donated to hospitals that have been put back into operation again thanks to the new legislation, thus enabling Bach Mai, one of the biggest hospitals in Hanoi, to better help patients.

Vu Dang Luu, the hospital’s radiology director, said, “In the past when such a machine was unused, we found it difficult to test patients with coronary artery disease in an accurate and efficient manner. Being allowed to use it again has helped us a lot.”

The new rules have helped the healthcare sector nationwide. In particular, with Decree 07, more than 10,000 registration numbers of drugs, medical supplies, and chemicals have been licensed for circulation, making bidding more convenient.

Bach Mai Hospital director Dr. Dao Xuan Co added, “Many bidding packages of chemicals worth billions of VND (hundreds of thousands of US dollars) have been opened successfully. At present, we have enough supply of chemicals for testing and treatment activities, and the supply of medical supplies is also ensured.”

Elsewhere, in the northern province of Phu Tho, more than 2,000 items including drugs, medical supplies, and chemicals in five bidding packages of the local health sector have closed. In 2022, many items did not have any contractors, but this year the number of participating contractors is substantial.

A representative of Phu Tho Department of Health said the results of these bidding packages will ensure enough supply for the province’s medical treatment activities.

Phu Tho has enjoyed a donation of 28 testing machines. In the past, tests carried out on these machines would not be paid for by health insurance because it would take too long to complete procedures to confirm ownership, while investing in such a machine would be too costly; therefore, the issuance of Resolution 30 has solved this issue.

Decree 07 also emphasises the resolution of problems related to import permits and registration numbers of medical equipment, while removing the regulation that reference prices shall not be higher than the declared prices at the time of procurement; switching from pre-inspection to post-inspection associated with the responsibility of enterprises; and strengthening inspection and examination by management agencies.

In addition, the resolution abolishes the requirement to have three quotations. Machines under placement, borrowed, donated, and those that have expired joint venture contracts will be paid for by health insurance.

In spite of the improvements, many health establishments are still concerned. For example, it requires that the scientific council at hospitals must be responsible for the selection of medical equipment and drugs, no matter how many quotes have been made available.

A Bach Mai hospital representative expects that there will soon be legal documents on management, procurement guidelines, and transparent bidding to ensure a safer legal corridor with sustainable solutions when implementing bidding packages, avoiding shortages of drugs and medical supplies.

Medical facilities also suggested that it is necessary to post the winning price of provinces and units on the portal of the Ministry of Health as a basis, as well as the reference price. Ministry leaders said that they have consulted health departments and hospitals about problems in bidding and would submit them to the National Assembly when amending the Law on Public Procurement this month.

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By Bich Thuy

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