Vietnam capital to hike medical fees by multiple times next month

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Revenues from new medical fees are expected to improve facilities and solve the problem of overcrowding at public hospitals in Hanoi. Photo by Ngoc Thang

Hanoi legislators have approved a major fee increase for services at public hospitals, saying the money would be used to improve facilities.

The city's lawmaking unit, the People's Council, agree to raise prices of 712 services to 70 percent of the cap regulated by the Ministries of Health and Finance, while reducing the prices of eight services and keeping those of 1,365 others unchanged.

The cost for health checks at top hospitals will be increased fourfold to VND100,000 (US$4.71).

Sickbeds will cost around eight times higher between VND38,000 and 108,000 ($1.80-5.08) per day.

Officials at the meeting said if counting the unchanged fees for more than a thousand other services, the average increases are around double.

They ordered hospitals to invest 15 percent of the new revenue into the purchase of specialized equipment and the improvement of present facilities, such as building more rooms and buying more sickbeds, to reduce overcrowding.

A representative from the city People's Committee, the municipal administration, said current medical fees at Hanoi's public hospitals are 18 years old and have become outdated, given that the minimum wage and rate of inflation have increased markedly during that time.

Nguyen Thi Thuy, a councilor, said 70 percent of city residents have health insurance and thus only have to cover 20 percent of medical fees.

Thuy said the many of the city's uninsured residents chose to be so, as they are rich and can therefore afford to be treated at private hospitals.

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