Booming Covid-19 treatment at home offered by private hospitals

As Covid-19 treatment medical facilities in Ho Chi Minh City have become overloaded with patients, those with less severe conditions have been encouraged to forgo a hospital stay and get treatment at home instead. Some private medical facilities have taken advantage of the situation to offer medical services at home.
As one of his family members has contracted the coronavirus disease, a man in The Parc Spring apartment building in Thu Duc City posted information on social networks to seek medical help.
After 15 minutes, he received a lot of messages offering medicine delivery and remote consultation services from clinics with prices ranging from VND2 million to tens of millions of Vietnam dong. Curiously, he tried to find out the service on internet understanding that many clinics and medical facilities also advertise this service.
For instance, PK Family Medical Practice located at Diamond Plaza at 34 Le Duan Street in District 1 introduced a package of counseling services to support infected patients’ treatment at home for 10 days at the price of VND12,098,000 (US$529.88) per person. This cost includes remote consultation with a doctor by phone or by zooms one or two times a day, supplying oxygen meter, temperature meter, RT-PCR test 2 times on ninth and tenth days, and some medications.
Another clinic PK Bernard at 201 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street in District 3 has offered two service packages comprising a gold package worth VND26 million and a Titanium package worth VND36 million. One doctor and one medical professional will connect with patients in each 14-day service package on the internet.
FV Hospital has issued a notice to refuse admission of patients with Covid-19 at the hospital because the infirmary has been overloaded proposing a remote medical consultation service instead. Accordingly, FV Hospital announced a telemedicine service package for Covid-19 patients at home for VND14 million. The hospital will give daily consultation by phone with a doctor for 12 days as well as provide blood oxygen saturation and temperature measurement equipment. Additionally, healthcare workers of FV Hospital will take samples for RT-PCR testing and give drugs at home.
After receiving patients’ complaints of medical service offered by non-public facilities, the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City have recently paid an unscheduled visit to hospitals providing medical examination and treatment for Covid-19 patients at home.
Accordingly, the inspection team inspected the Family Medical Practice, Bernard, and DT General Hospitals of Victoria Healthcare Development Company which have provided medical service packages for infected patients at home. These clinics have not produced good explanations for fee collection of medical services at home.
Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Health Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said that the Ministry of Health has encouraged private hospitals to participate in the epidemic prevention; however, they must comply with the health sector’s regulations. Particularly, the information and service prices must be provided to the public openly and transparently.
Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, Chief Inspector of the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City, said that the city administrators have currently made a policy not to collect treatment fees for patients with Covid-19.
However, all hospitals in the city are overloaded with patients; hence, some private infirmaries and individuals have offered medical treatment at home.
Currently, the Department of Health will check and consider the problem to have the most appropriate solution in amid the ongoing epidemic.
Mentioning health care packages for Covid-19 infected patients at home offered by several private clinics and hospitals, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Duong Anh Duc said that private facilities in the city have been making a positive contribution to the prevention of the Covid-19 epidemic.
However, some problems still exist on the way. City authorities have encouraged private medical facility offers a health care package that complies with the regulations of the health sector and the law.

By Lam Giang - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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