Restructure plan to streamline system
The government is expected to set up a new mechanism to improve national healthcare and make services more effective.The move would put in place three key functions to drive public healthcare - a national health authority, healthcare purchaser and healthcare provider, the permanent secretary for Public Health Dr Narong Sahametapat said yesterday.
Narong spoke at a meeting of National Health Security Board (NHSB) members chaired by Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong.
"This is a new direction we are taking to improve the country's public healthcare system," he said.
In addition, a national health authority, overseen by the ministry, would be put in charge as regulator and policy maker.
Meanwhile, the three health funds - National Health Security Fund, Social Security Fund and Civil Servant Medical Service Benefit Fund - will become service purchasers and manage the budget in compliance with government health policy. Healthcare units across the nation will become service providers under the policy.
The ministry believes this new mechanism will improve the management of public healthcare schemes, making them more effective.
The NHSB will also ask Cabinet to make the National Health Security Office (NHSO) a national clearing house, so it can seek reimbursements from the three health schemes.
This way, the NHSO can make payments to healthcare providers and then be reimbursed by schemes later.
The NHSO will also build a database of both in- and out-patients so it can work out the financial situation of each health scheme and find a way of curbing rising costs.
"We will ask the Cabinet to approve this proposal this month and expect to have the clearing house operation in full swing next year," NHSO secretary-general Dr Winai Swasdivorn said.
Previously, Pradit had spoken to Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong about turning the NHSO into a national clearing house and getting it to manage the reimbursement for all medical services and conditions.
MORE MEDICAL CONDITIONS TO BE COVERED
At present, the NHSO only works as a clearing house for three medical services under the three healthcare funds, namely emergency medical care, kidney disease and HIV/Aids.
The NHSB yesterday also asked Cabinet |to raise the budget per-head for its 49 million members from Bt2,755.60 for the fiscal year |2013-2014 to Bt2,955.91 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The increased per-head budget would cover rising wages of medical officers and the budget for health promotion and prevention programme, Pradit said.
However, the NHSO needs approval for the move from the Budget Bureau before submitting it to Cabinet for a final go-ahead.