As many as 100,000 gold-card holders are likely to be affected when three private hospitals in Bangkok pull out of the universal healthcare scheme in October.
Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakonsattayathorn, however, played down the pullout of the three private hospitals in Bangkok namely Bangna 1, Panya and Vibharam-Pakkred, saying it is quite normal, but their action must not affect people who have to rely on their services.
Earlier, privately-owned Mahesak hospital had pulled out of the scheme, but the Social Security Office has tried to arrange for other state hospitals and health offices of the City Administration to accommodate the healthcare need of some 109,000 gold-card holders who used to receive medical service at Mahesak hospital.
Over 100,000 gold-card holders have registered to receive healthcare at the three hospitals which will withdraw from the healthcare scheme in October.
In order to deal with the impact to the public from the pullout from the universal healthcare scheme by private hospitals, Dr Piyasakol said he would propose that the board of the Social Security Office amend regulations requiring hospitals which want to pull out of the scheme to where they must notify the office or the Public Health Ministry one year in advance instead of 30 days in advance.
Meanwhile, Social Security Office secretary-general Dr Suradet Valee-itthikul admitted that a similar problem also occurred with the social security programme with at least three private hospitals namely Yanhee, Kasemrath Rattanathibet and Sriranong in Rayong province expressing their intention to pull out next year.
However, he assured the planned pullout would not affect the insured as substitute hospitals are now being arranged.