FV Hospital offers services to cancer patients

Ho Chi Minh City-based FV Hospital is offering check-ups and treatment to nearly 900 cancer patients who hold national health insurance cards in order to ease the burden on the public hospital system.

The hospital is the first foreign-invested hospital to offer services for cancer patients with such cards.

The hospital received approval from the Vietnam Social Insurance and Ministry of Heatlh in early July last year to offer the service.

The hospital plans to invest US$3 million to US$5 million to upgrade its oncology department to accomodate the added patients, according to Phạm Thị Thanh Mai, Chief Operating Officer of the hospital.

According to the hospital’s contract with Social Insurance-Ho Chi Minh City, the latter will partly cover expenses for check-ups, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and other services.

Medicine used for chemotherapy will be covered at a rate of 30% to 90% by insurance health fund. Moreover, the fund will cover a part of fee for testing and other medical service. Patients with radiotherapy will be covered VND500,000 (US$22) each day.

With the acceptance of the cards, all 150 hospitals and health clinics in Ho Chi Minh City and all provincial hospitals can transfer patients to FV Hospital.

Nguyen Thi Thuong Thuong, 60, who was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, recently underwent treatment at FV Hospital by using her health insurance card.

“I registered at FV Hospital in July 2015. In one year, health insurance paid for VND700 million, half of the treatment expenses. Before that, I registered for treatment at Ho Chi Minh City Tumour Hospital, but it was overloaded. So I decided to move to FV Hospital,” Thương said.

More private hospitals

More private hospitals and clinics have signed up with Ho Chi Minh City’s Social Insurance Agency, offering insured patients more options and helping ease the massive load on public hospitals, Luu Thị Thanh Huyen, deputy director of the agency, said.

Fifty private facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, including 20 hospitals, have signed off on agreements so far.

The number of public hospitals – 69 -- is not much higher, she said.

The private establishments are doing it to attract a larger share of the total number of patients, she said.

However, only 75.2% of the city’s population is covered by health insurance, according to figures released by the agency.

The Government had targeted covering 76.4% of the city’s population.

Since March public hospitals’ fees have risen by 30%, and 60% in the case of those with financial autonomy.

The health insurance fund has increased its cover for nearly 1,900 medical services by 30%.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said healthcare subsidies would be cut gradually to enable poor people to buy health insurance.

The increase in hospital fees would apply for uninsured patients starting later this year to encourage them to buy health insurance, she added.

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