Private hospitals cannot charge Covid-19 patients for treatment, the National Health Security Office (NHSO) said.
NHSO secretary-general Jadet Thammathat-Aree held a video conference with private hospitals nationwide on Wednesday. He said later that the NHSO had asked private hospitals not to charge Covid-19 patients.
Private hospitals attending the meeting said they had to charge Covid-19 patients previously due to the NHSO’s delayed reimbursement for Covid-19 treatment costs.
Dr Jadet told them the NHSO had since shortened the reimbursement period to 15 days and asked them to charge for Covid-19 treatment at the rate set by public health authorities.
For extra Covid-19 expenses not included in the NHSO’s list, it would consider including them in the list and would reimburse private hospitals later, he said.
Some private hospitals recently refused to provide Covid-19 testing to people since they were afraid the NHSO would not reimburse them, according to the NHSO chief.
During the video conference, private hospitals expressed their willingness to comply with the NHSO’s guidelines on Covid-19 treatment billing, he said.
Department of Health Service Support director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong, who also joined the meeting, thanked private hospitals for their cooperation.
He said many complaints about Covid-19 patients being charged by private hospitals were caused by misunderstandings.
“If Covid-19 patients are entitled to receive free treatment, they should be able to receive refunds for the fees they paid private hospitals.
“Patients and hospitals were encouraged to mediate, but those who refused to mediate can bring their cases to court,” Dr Tares said.
The department had asked private hospitals not to send Covid-19 patients their bills since they might think that they had to pay for the treatment, the doctor said.
Dr Tares said all private hospitals were obliged to treat Covid-19 patients as emergency patients. Patients do not have to pay for emergency services and treatment which can be reimbursed by the NHSO.