Doctors in Thailand Threaten to Stop Treating Injured Workers
Posted on Oct 05, 2007
Private hospitals all across Thailand have threatened to stop treating injured workers covered by the Workmen's Compensation Fund because they claim that the state has been too slow in reimbursing them for treatment costs. A committee under the Social Security Office runs the fund, which promises to pay hospitals for treating workers who are covered by the scheme. But the hospitals claim that in practice, reimbursement takes too long and the money is not always paid in full. There has been an agreement by the Association of Private Hospitals, which represents 112 hospitals, not to continue contracts with the fund. Beginning Jan 1 next year the the employers will be directly charged by the hospitals for their workers' medical expenses. The association’s deputy chairman, Nopadol Nopakun, has said that the problem has reached the point of being unbearable. The group said that it unsuccessfully sought a meeting to discuss the problem with the labour minister. Nopakun said that this showed the government paid no attention to the needs of private hospitals. The government also had not increased the ceiling of payments for medical treatment for 11 years, which left some private hospitals out of pocket. The Office of the Workmen's Compensation Fund, in defense of its actions, said it needed time to carefully consider the appropriate amount of money to be paid to the hospitals.