Overcrowding and severe health conditions pose difficulties for private hospitals in the universal healthcare provider business.
Photo above of a preterm baby in an incubator. Born before the normal time, the internal organs of these babies are not fully developed, so they require special costly treatment, difficult to pay for with the universal healthcare funding currently provided.
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UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE: Hospitals in private sector swamped by new patients by Apiradee Treerutkuarkul
The director of Mongkutwattana Private Hospital has complained about the increasing burden from having to treat large numbers of patients under the universal healthcare scheme.
Speaking during a seminar aimed at seeking cooperation from private clinics and hospitals, Rienthong Nanna yesterday said the number of patients had risen from about 57,000 to more than 200,000 a year after his hospital joined the healthcare scheme last April.
Dr Rienthong's comments came as the National Health Security Office (NHSO) struggles to find more private clinics and hospital partners to help solve the problem of patient overcrowding.
Dr Rienthong said most patients came to his hospital with severe and complicated health conditions such as HIV/Aids and chronic tuberculosis. Both diseases needed long-term care and the treatment costs were high.
In addition, Dr Rienthong said elderly patients and newborns have been found abandoned at the hospital despite having recovered and been discharged.
Many pregnant teens were also being admitted to the hospital for the delivery of their children, he said.
Many newborns were pre-term births and weighed as much as 700g below the normal 2.5kg
The hospital needed to take special care of these premature babies.
Dr Rienthong said the hospital had not made much of a profit after joining the universal healthcare scheme - it had only managed to survive.
However, he said the hospital has already spent as much as 200 million baht to boost its capacity from 150 to 250 beds to prepare for an increasing number of patients under the universal healthcare scheme
Apart from the patient overcrowding burden at his hospital, Dr Rienthong said medical malpractice lawsuits brought against doctors were another factor that many private hospitals were concerned about.
This was one reason why they refused to join the universal healthcare scheme.
Last year, Kasemrad Hospital and its two network hospitals along with Srivichai Hospital stopped providing medical services for about 200,000 patients under the universal healthcare scheme due to patient overcrowding.
Dr Rienthong called on the NHSO, which administers the scheme providing healthcare for 48 million people, mostly low-income earners, to boost its spending on the private health sector and work more with welfare agencies to help take care of abandoned patients.
Rattaphon Triamwichanon, deputy director of NHSO Region 13 overseeing primary and secondary care units in Bangkok, conceded that it was hard to find secondary private hospitals to participate in the universal healthcare scheme due to imbalances of budget and workload.
Dr Rattaphon said he tried to seek cooperation from private hospitals under the Church of Christ in Thailand and in Bangkok's neighbouring provinces to join the scheme to help with cases transferred from clinics but to no avail.
Currently, only 29 private hospitals take part in the universal healthcare scheme.
(Source: Bangkok Post, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, Hospitals in private sector swamped by new patients, 29/07/2011, Apiradee Treerutkuarkul, link)
universal - involving everyone ทั่วไป
healthcare - the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems
scheme - a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
universal healthcare scheme - a health care system in which all people in a country or society get medical treatment even if they don't have enough money; "built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision" (See Wikipedia)
sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)
private sector - all companies in the economy owned by people (not the government)
public sector - all government organizations
private hospital - a hospital owned and operated by a company
public hospital - a hospital owned and operated by the government
swamped - having too many problem or too much work to deal with at one time ที่มีปัญหามากเกินรับไหว
burden - a serious or difficult responsibility that you have to deal with ภาระ (See glossary)
treatment (noun) - the process of providing medical care การรักษา
treat (verb) - provide medical care; give a patient medicine or other "therapy" to cure a disease or health condition (treat a disease, treat a medical condition)
treatment costs - the money that must be spent on medicine (doctor, other therapies) to cure a patient's disease
cooperation - working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
seeking cooperation - trying to find others to work together on a project
clinics - places where people go to receive medical treatment
struggles - experiences difficulty and makes a very great effort in order to do something ดิ้นรน
partners - the companies owning part of the joint venture หุ้นส่วน
patient - someone who is receiving medical treatment คนป่วย, คนไข้
patient overcrowding - too many patients in a hospital (not enough beds, doctors and nurses to treat them)
healthcare provider - a hospital or clinic that treats a patient for a disease or medical condition
primary care - the clinic or hospital (doctor, nurse) that is the patient's first contact with the healthcare system when they have a medical problem (See Wikipedia)
primary - first and most important
secondary care - "the health care services provided by medical specialists and other health professionals who generally do not have first contact with patients, for example, cardiologists, urologists and dermatologists" (See Wikipedia)
unit - an organization (here: a clinic or hospital)
primary care unit - the clinic or hospital that sees the patient first when they have a health problem
secondary care unit - the clinic or hospital in which the patient receives treatment from a specialist expert in the medical condition he is suffering from
imbalances - when things are not in balance, when one things gets too big and could cause failure
budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
workload - the amount of work that a worker must do each day ปริมาณงานที่คนหรือเครื่องจักรทำได้ระยะเวลาหนึ่ง
imbalances of budget and workload - meaning: low budget with high workload (not balanced or equal)
Church of Christ in Thailand - the largest Protestant church in Thailand, founded in 1934 to form a single church to include all Protestant churches in Thailand, runs many hospitals in Thailand such as in Chiang Rai (Overbrook Hospital) and Chiang Mai (McCormick Hospital) (See Wikipedia)
pregnant - having a baby developing inside the body ท้อง ตั้งครรภ์
pregnant teens - young girls (13-19) with babies (who may not have enough money to pay all the expenses of giving birth to a baby)
premature - happening too soon or before the usual time ก่อนเวลาอันควร เร็วเกินไป
premature babies - the birth of a baby long before the normal birth time; before the baby is fully developed (at less than 37 weeks); "Premature infants are at greater risk for short and long term complications, including disabilities and impediments in growth and mental development. Significant progress has been made in the care of premature infants, but not in reducing the prevalence of preterm birth ... the major cause of neonatal mortality in developed countries" (See Wikipedia)
pre-term births - same as "premature baby"
pre-term babies - same as "premature baby"
incubator - a special container for babies born too early or with other health problems; provides the baby with extra oxygen and controlled temperature and environment (See Wikipedia)
severe - very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
complicated - having so many parts conected in so many ways that it is difficult to understand and deal with ที่ซับซ้อน
tuberculosis - a very severe but difficult to treat lung disease, once under control but has now returned as a problem in recent years (See Wikipedia)
chronic - (of a isease or pain) serious and lasting for a long time เป็นประจำ
chronic tuberculosis - the disease takes a long time to treat and cure; it is also a very serious and life-threatening disease
long-term care - treating a patient for a disease over a long period of time
elderly - older people, over 65 สูงวัย, อาวุโส, อายุมาก
abandoned - left alone by someone who is supposed to look after you ถูกปล่อยทิ้งไว้ ที่ถูกละทิ้ง
recovered - became fit and healthy again ฟื้นฟูร่างกาย
discharged - discharged from the hospital
profit - money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid กำไร
not made much of a profit - made only a little profit (may lose money too; not a good business)
survive - to continue to exist อยู่รอด รอดพ้น สืบต่อไปได้ to continue to live มีชีวิตรอด to stay alive despite a dangerous situation, an illness, injury, etc.
only managed to survive - worked hard enough to continue existed (did not: fail, die, end existence) but did not: profit, thrive, do well
spent - money used already ที่ใช้ไป
boost - to increase; to strengthen เพิ่ม; ทำให้มีกำลังมากขึ้น
boost capacity - increase the work or service it can provide (by increasing number of beds in hospital)
capacity - the total amount that can be contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้ the largest amount that can be produced with current resources (factory, equipment, machines, facilities) ความสามารถ (ความจุ) ในการจัดการ
medical malpractice - when a doctor, nurse or other health care worker makes a mistake and medical care does not meet accepted standards causing injury or death to the patient (See Wikipedia)
lawsuits - a case in a court of law to end a dispute between two people
medical malpractice lawsuit - when a patient who was injured by care that did not meet medical standards tries to get money from the doctor or hospital in a court case
factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
concerned - worried about something มีความกังวล
reason - an explanation of an event, why an event happened เหตุ ; เหตุผล ; สาเหตุ
network - a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. เครือข่าย
network hospitals - hospitals that are connected to each other and share resources and work (example: expensive medical equipmwent may only be located at one hospital or a medical specialist in a certain highly specialised area of medicine may only be at one hospital)
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings
low-income earners - poor people
welfare - help given, especially by the state or an organization, to people who need it; good care and living conditions สวัสดิภาพ
welfare agencies - government departments that help poor people with their living conditions
deputy - the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
deputy director - the person one below director, representing him or replacing him when he can't go to a meeting or do some activity
overseeing - managing, checking to see that it operates properly and nothing goes wrong
conceded - admitted unwillingly that something is true ยอมรับ
participate - to take part in or become involved in an activity มีส่วน
transferred - moved
clinics - medical clinics, small offices to meet a doctor and get medical treatment (smaller than a hospital)
cases transferred from clinics - patients (medical cases) moved from medical clinics to the hospital
to no avail - tried to do something , but it did not work, was not successful
take part in - join with others and do an activity
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