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Committee set up to address over charging by private hospitals

Yesterday the Public Health Minister agreed to address the problem of some private hospitals charging unreasonably high prices at the request of the Thai Medical Error Network.

Public Health Minister Dr Rajata Rajatanavin agreed to set up a central committee after accepting the networks petition that contained 33,000 signatures. He said that he would summon all related agencies to discuss the issue of overpricing.

Preeyananan Lorsermavattana, the president of the Thai Medical Error Network said that Dr Rajata said that this is a complicated problem that would take time to solve. Talks will be held at the ministry as well as with other concerned parties about setting up the panel, as requested by the network. This is just the first step in what Preeyanana said are unfair prices set by private hospitals and added that once the committee is established it would be responsible for setting out fair prices for all medical care.
“I hope this committee will become a centre for patients who face this problem,” Preeyanan said, adding that making complaints is tough for individuals at present because they have to go through several agencies, such as the Medical Council of Thailand or the Internal Trade Department. There was also no guarantee that their complaints would be addressed because many members of the Medical Council’s board were also on boards of private hospitals, she said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he has already told the Public Health Ministry to tackle this problem. However, he admitted that the problem of overpricing among private hospitals will affect Thailand’s goal to become a healthcare hub.

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