NHSO seeks B9.8bn boost
Covid costs rise with increase in cases
The National Health Security Office (NHSO) will seek an additional budget of 9.8 billion baht to help those affected by the third wave of Covid-19.
NHSO secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee said on Thursday the board had agreed to seek 9.87 billion baht from the government to pay for Covid-19 expenses from April to September this year.
The NHSO needed the extra funds because the number of Covid-19 patients in the country continues to rise, the doctor said.
The office has spent around 600 million a month, but the figure will likely increase to 1.5–2 billion baht a month soon. The old budget is expected to run out in less than a month.
The additional budget of 9.87 billion baht would be spent from this month until September, the doctor said.
The office has already sought 6.28 billion baht from the government for pandemic-related expenses.
The increase in the NHSO's Covid-19 expenses is mainly the result of new services for home-quarantined people, the extension of a symptom observation period from 10 to 14 days and more proactive screening.
Dr Jadej added the NHSO had projected the daily number of virus cases at 750 per day from April to May and 200 from June to September. The number of Covid-19 patients in state quarantine facilities was estimated at 15 per day or 52,600 in total.
The NHSO has expected to pay for 22,442 RT-PCR tests per day, up from 10,000 tests per day.
In the next five or six months, the office would pay for 3.82 million Covid-19 tests at cost price, the secretary-general said.
In January 2020, the cabinet approved more than 205 billion baht for the universal healthcare budget for 2022, a 4.4% increase on this year.
Some 203 billion baht was allocated to the National Health Security Fund (NHSF) and the remaining 2.2 billion baht to the NHSO for management costs.
Under the new budget, health coverage will reach 47.9 million people in the universal healthcare scheme, meaning an increase of just over 3,360 baht per head, 3.8% higher than now.
Health coverage for 169,041 dependents in communities will rise the most, by 21% to 1.01 billion baht.
The budget covers Covid-19 tests and treatment for 600,425 people.