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Hospital budget freeze

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Hospitals need to use cheaper medicine, not buy new equipment & lay off staff to cut expenses. As financial crisis nears 50% of hospitals losing money, 25% in debt. 



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Local News

Panel decries health scheme budget freeze

Hospitals 'will be driven into financial crisis'
16/11/2012
Paritta Wangkiat

The government's plan to freeze spending on the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme will hurt state hospital finances and reduce the quality of medical services to patients, a Senate sub-committee has warned.

Dr Jate Sratharanon, the head of a sub-committee on the universal healthcare policy under the Senate's committee on public health, said the proposed freeze would severely harm the scheme.

The government has proposed a three-year spending freeze between this year and 2014.

While other developed countries have increased their healthcare spending to as high as 8% of GDP, the government is planning to curb health spending at 3.8%-4% of GDP, Dr Jate said.

As a result, the budget for the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme will be frozen at 2,755 baht a head each year.

This amount covers medical costs, wages for medical staff and the hospitals' running costs, Dr Jate said.

The freeze will harm hospitals which will still have to deal with inflation and the rising costs of medicine and medical equipment, he said.

According to a survey by the sub-committee in June, 496 of 831 hospitals under the Public Health Ministry are running at a loss amounting to a total of 4.5 billion baht.

It said 25% of hospitals are in debt without any reserve fund, while about 21% of hospitals are at extreme risk of financial crisis.

The sub-committee's survey shows funds provided by the National Health Security Office are still stuck in the payment process while their reserve funds have run out.

The sub-committee predicts more than 70% of the hospitals would be in the red by the end of this year if no funds are made available for them.

Their overall operating losses are expected to increase by another 2 billion baht at that point.

Dr Jate said the cost containment policy would put more hospitals in financial crisis, which would force hospitals to cut their expenses by laying off staff, using cheaper medicine and putting a halt to the purchase of new equipment.

The freeze will undermine the medical services offered by hospitals to the public...

...Public Health Minister Dr Pradit Sinthawanarong said the cost of the 30-baht scheme has grown rapidly, from 70 billion baht 10 years ago to 100 billion baht this year.

He said the ministry is considering encouraging private hospitals to use equipment owned by government hospitals, which will bring extra income to the state hospitals.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Local News, Panel decries health scheme budget freeze, Hospitals 'will be driven into financial crisis', 16/11/2012, Paritta Wangkiat, link

 
Healthcare Financial Crisis Vocabulary

healthcare - the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems (See Wikipedia)

universal - involving everyone ทั่วไป

universal
healthcare - "a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to all its citizens. It is organized around providing a specified package of benefits to all members of a society with the end goal of providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services, and improved health outcomes" (See Wikipedia)

universal healthcare scheme
the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme

scheme
- a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
health scheme

crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์ วิกฤต
financial crisis - a situation in which an organization does not have enough money to continue in operation (to continue running)

budget
- the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
budget freeze - when budgets are ordered not to change (no increases in money spent) 

panel - a group of experts discussing a problem or trying to solve a problem

decry - say publicly that you do not like and do not approve of something
panel decries health scheme budget freeze

driven into ... -
caused to go into ...
hospitals driven into financial crisis


frozen - 1. when water turns to ice; 2. when something stops or stops moving
the budget for the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme will be frozen at 2,755 baht a head each year

freeze (verb)
freeze spending - stop spending
the government's plan to freeze spending

freeze (noun)
a spending freeze - when spending is stopped (by an order from above)
the government has proposed a three-year spending freeze

state - government รัฐ
a state hospital

finances -
how much money an organization has to run the organization (how well the money is spent and whether it can get money in an emergency)
state hospital finances
hurt state hospital finances - reduce the amount of money available to state hospitals

services - บริการต่างๆ
medical services

quality -
คุณภาพ
quality of medical services
reduce the quality of medical services to patients

policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
the universal healthcare policy

harm - damage ความเสียหาย
severely harm

proposed - suggested (but not yet chosen or decided upon)
the proposed freeze would severely harm the scheme

curb - stop or reduce ลดหรือยุติ to control or limit ระงับ, ควบคุม
the government is planning to curb health spending

staff - workers, employees พนักงาน
medical staff

wages - the amount of money earned per hour by a worker
wages for medical staff

running - operating or managing an organization
running costs
- the everyday costs of keeping an organization running
the hospitals' running costs

This amount covers medical costs, wages for medical staff and the hospitals' running costs, Dr Jate said.

inflation - the level of prices rising in the economy as a whole ภาวะเงินเฟ้อ
The freeze will harm hospitals which will still have to deal with inflation and the rising costs of medicine and medical equipment, he said.

survey - gathering information about what people think about different subjects (public opionion) by asking large numbers of people questions and counting their answers, and then using statistics, graphs, and tables to present results (See Wikipedia) t การสำรวจความเห็น

X amounting to Y - the amount of X is Y

running at a loss -
the organization is losing money (1. not profitable or 2. "breaking even" and covering costs with zero profit)
hospitals are running at a loss amounting to a total of 4.5 billion baht.

debt - an amount of money that you owe หนี้
in debt - in a situation where you owe money to people

reserve - something currently not being used but that can be used when needed สำรองไว้  ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง
fund - money to be used for something เงินทุน กองทุน
reserve fund

25% of hospitals are in debt without any reserve fund

extreme - much more severe or serious than usual ที่ร้ายแรงมาก, ที่รุนแรงที่สุด
risk - danger, how likely or possible it is for a bad event that causes harm and damage ความเสี่ยง
at extreme risk

about 21% of hospitals are at extreme risk of financial crisis

funds - money needed or available to spend on something;  an amount of money kept for a special purpose เงินทุน
funds provided by the National Health Security Office

funds made available
no funds made available

process - a series of actions taken to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
payment process

stuck -
when something causes you to stop so that you cannot move forward or leave ติด , ค้าง , ไม่สามารถขยับได้, ติดอยู่, Example: นักโดดร่มค้างอยู่บนยอดไม้,  ตกลงมาหรือขึ้นไปติดอยู่กับสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่ง, ติดอยู่กลางทาง
get stuck

still stuck
stuck in the payment
process

run out -
no more of something left (all of it has been used) หมด, หมดไป
their reserve funds have run out

in the red - losing money
70% of the hospitals would be in the red by the end if no funds are made available for them

expected - believe will happen คาดว่า (จะเกิดขึ้น)
Their overall operating losses are expected to increase by another 2 billion baht at that point.

contain (verb) - control and limit something (not greater than limit, contained within limits)
containment (noun)  
cost containment - making sure costs are not greater than some limit or maximum cost 

cost containment policy
the cost containment policy would put more hospitals in financial crisis

force - must do, have to do (because of situation and pressures)
lay off staff -  end the job of employees (to save money) 
would force hospitals to cut their expenses by laying off staff

halt - a stop หยุดนิ่ง หยุด
putting a halt to

purchase (noun) - buying something
equipment - อุปกรณ์

putting a halt to the purchase of new equipment

undermine - to make weak; make something or someone become gradually less effective or successful ทำให้อ่อนลง,ทำลายทีละน้อย,ทำลายอย่างลับ
the freeze will undermine the medical services offered by hospitals to the public...

ministry - a government department dealing with an area of activity กระทรวง
encourage - give energy to and make people feel good about doing something ปลุกใจ
income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savings

He said the ministry is considering encouraging private hospitals to use equipment owned by government hospitals, which will bring extra income to the state hospitals.

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