Holders of 30-baht universal health care cards are now eligible to seek medical treatment at primary care units nationwide, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Sunday.
There is no need to seek referral documents from the units where patients are registered, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said as he outlined a new reform to the 30 baht health scheme, or the "gold card".
Further upgrades of the universal health care service are a key priority. He has instructed the National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the Public Health Ministry to work on the upgrade, he said.
The upgrade of the care scheme began in some provinces last year, and will now be expanded nationwide as a New Year's gift for card holders, the minister said. ''If card holders happen to be sick in areas where they did not register for the service, they can now receive treatment at primary health care units natonwide without the need for referrals.
''The change is intended to ease the plight of card holders and cut unnecessary steps involving referral of patients to improve access to treatment,'' Mr Anutin said.
NHSO secretary-general Jadet Thammathat-aree said budget allocations fall under his remit. He and his staff were ready to support the change. ''If card holders seek treatment from units where they did not register, those hospitals can apply for reimbursement from the NHSO which has a budget ready for payment,'' he said.