HCMC advances plan for private treatment of homebound Covid-19 patients

By Huu Cong, Le Phuong   December 1, 2021 | 05:15 pm PT
HCMC advances plan for private treatment of homebound Covid-19 patients
A Covid-19 patient under treatment at the Gia An 115 private hospital in HCMC. Photo courtesy of Gia An 115
The HCMC Department of Health has suggested that Covid-19 patients be allowed to pick private doctors to be treated at home at no more than VND200,000 ($8.80) per visit.

This is a main feature of a draft plan on private healthcare sector participation in Covid-19 treatment that department director Tang Chi Thuong has submitted to the municipal People's Committee.

Under the plan, private healthcare facilities will submit their prices to the Health Department and also publicize them so that the people can choose their service provider. The staff of private healthcare establishments will not be eligible to benefit from state's policy of providing allowances and other support for personnel engaged in pandemic control. The medical supplies and medicines for Covid-19 treatment will be provided by district medical centers to private healthcare firms.

The health department has also suggested a plan for private healthcare establishments that function like mobile medical units to take care of people under home treatment. Each unit, with at least three medical staff, would cover 50-100 patients.

District medical centers would sign agreements with private clinics and provide Covid-19 medicines. The private mobile medical units must supply medicines for other underlying conditions. Mobile units equipped with thermometers, blood pressure meters, at least 10 SpO2 meters, oxygen tanks, protective suits, round-the-clock hotline, etc.

The state budget will be used to pay the private medical units VND47,500 for each check (including VND20,000 for travel) and VND16,700 for taking samples for rapid tests. Other allowances and meal support will also be paid for as regulated.

Additionally, private hospitals can register themselves with the health department for permission to receive and treat Covid-19 cases. The state budget will be used to pay for Covid-19 treatments in those hospitals, including health checks, medical procedures, medical supplies and equipment, and hospital beds.

Private medical units that operate like quarantine centers can register with the health department to provide relevant services including health checks, samples collection, medical prescriptions and treatment.

Quarantine centers at production sites, business sites and hotels can pick qualified private medical units to treat patients and sign pricing agreements for the service.

The department warned that complicated developments of Covid-19 pandemic were exerting great pressure on the city's healthcare workers. With reinforcements unavailable, the city had to mobilize the private sector.

Earlier, the private healthcare sector had joined the Covid-19 fight voluntarily and collected no fees, but a suitable financial mechanism was needed to ensure their long-term participation, the department argued.

HCMC’s private healthcare sector now has 64 hospitals, 215 specialized clinics and 6,223 general clinics, and over 9,000 private drugstores. The department expects that these establishments can effectively relieve the pressure on the city's public healthcare sector and boost the Covid-19 fight.

Several private clinics including the Saigon International General Clinic and CarePlus International Clinic in District 7 have registered to participate in the home treatment scheme.

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