Govt urged to keep covering treatments

Govt urged to keep covering treatments

Public health officials conduct testing on teachers and students to prevent any infection with Covid-19 virus on the first day of school after being closed for a year due to the pandemic in Narathiwat on Friday. (AFP photo)
Public health officials conduct testing on teachers and students to prevent any infection with Covid-19 virus on the first day of school after being closed for a year due to the pandemic in Narathiwat on Friday. (AFP photo)

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has been urged to reconsider the decision to exclude Covid-19 treatments from the list of conditions covered by the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) scheme, as the number of new infections is still on the rise.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the time simply wasn't right to make changes to the scheme, especially since the country had just reported 16,330 new cases and 25 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday -- the highest since Aug 29 last year.

He said he will ask Mr Anutin to delay the rule's implementation to April 1.

The government had earlier announced that starting on March 1, Covid-19 treatments will no longer be covered by the UCEP, except for those who are in a critical condition.

At present, all costs associated with Covid-19 treatments are covered by the scheme, meaning patients can seek treatment at any hospital free of charge.

The announcement means from March 1 onwards, only patients who are suffering from a critical, secondary infection brought on by Covid-19 will be covered by the scheme.

As such, those who have tested positive for Covid-19 but do not require critical care will have to make use of other welfare schemes to cover the cost of their treatment -- for example, the NHSO's universal health coverage scheme or the Civil Servant Medical Benefit Scheme.

Separately, the Pheu Thai Party also urged the government to reconsider the move, saying it would complicate efforts to contain the outbreak.

The main opposition party's spokeswoman, Theerarat Samretwanich, said the decision will ultimately restrict people's access to treatment, as under the new rule, those who tested positive for Covid-19 won't be able to seek treatment at any hospital they wish.

Instead, she said, they would have to seek treatment at the hospital where their health insurance schemes were registered.

Jadej Thammatacharee, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which manages the universal health programme, said ultimately the power to make changes to UCEP rests with the Department of Health Service Support.

He said free and/or subsidised treatment for Covid-19 will remain available to the public, even if the disease has been removed from the list of conditions covered by the UCEP.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (5)

16 Chinese nationals arrested in Pattaya for illegal money-lending

CHON BURI: Sixteen Chinese nationals suspected of running an illegal online money-lending business were arrested during a police raid in the beach town of Pattaya beach town on Wednesday.

19:10

Vietnam requests Netflix remove K-drama over war 'distortion'

Vietnam has asked Netflix to stop showing South Korean drama series "Little Women" in the Southeast Asian country, alleging the series distorted events of the Vietnam War, state media said Wednesday.

18:12

Singapore makes biggest seizure of rhino horn

Singapore authorities have made their biggest ever seizure of rhino horn with a US$830,000 haul confiscated from a smuggler arriving from South Africa, officials said Wednesday.

17:57