Special Report: Phuket hospitals facing huge losses from uninsured patients

PUBLISHED ON TUE, APR 18, 2017 2:53 PM

Special Report: Phuket hospitals facing huge losses from uninsured patients

Phuket Gazette

 

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Last year, Vachira Phuket Hospital wrote off 4.3 million baht of unpaid bills incurred by uninsured foreign patients, with the total amount over nine years being 24 million baht. Photo: Gazette file

 

PHUKET: -- There is no lack of evidence about the alarming number of tourist deaths in the 'Land of Smiles'. According to the ‘Bureau of Prevention and Assistance in Tourist Fraud’, there was a whopping 54 per cent increase in tourist deaths in 2015 as compared to 2014. This figure only counts tourists. The actual number including expats is likely higher, as can be seen in the statistics provided by the Farang Deaths project. 

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimated that there were 109 deaths of Australians alone in Thailand between July 2014 and June 2015. Given the likelihood that a foreigner might be injured in Phuket, clear protocols on uninsured foreign patients are surprisingly missing.

According to Methavee Maneesri of Vachira Phuket Hospital, when foreign patients are unable to pay their bills, the hospital has to absorb the expenses. Last year alone, the hospital wrote off 4.3 million baht of unpaid bills incurred by foreign patients. Over the last nine years, Vachira Phuket Hospital says it has written off more than 24 million baht in such losses. 

“Due to medical ethics, we do not pick and choose patients before we initiate life-saving treatment. The questions of payment and insurance coverage are always secondary to saving patients’ lives,” said Ms Methavee. However, patients with non-life-threatening conditions will be asked to show proper insurance coverage or make an adequate deposit before treatment is administered. 

 

Full story: http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket-news/Special-Report-Phuket-hospitals-facing-huge-losses/66485?desktopversion

 
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-- © Copyright Phuket Gazette 2017-04-18
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