Reported by Lo Chen from Taipei
The NHIA started the negotiation process for next year’s NHI Global Budget on the 21st. However, no consensus has been reached among the representatives of hospitals, primary care clinics and fee payers after a long day’s negotiation. One of the disputes is about the increase in personnel cost due to the implementation of two-days-off-per-week policy. The NHIA will submit both proposals to the MOHW for final decision.
Mr Chu Yi-Hong, the Present of the Taiwan Nongovernmental Hospitals and Clinics Association (NHCA), expressed that after the implementation of the two-days-off-per-week policy, healthcare providers are facing an increase in personnel cost, especially for hospitals due to the provision of in-hospital services and emergency services. Mr Chu estimated that the new policy imposes a 4.5% increase in personnel costs on hospitals. Therefore, hospital representatives requested the NHIA to allocate additional NT$2.5 billion to cover the cost. The fee payer representatives opposed this request.
Similar situations happened in the negotiation with primary care clinics. Dr Zhen Ze-Zhan, the President of the Taiwan Medical Clinics Association (TMCA), expressed that about 80% of the primary care clinics in Taiwan provide services on Saturdays, and some even on Sundays. The new two-days-off-per-week policy imposes an increase of NT$2-2.6 billion in personnel costs on the primary care clinics.
In response to the request, the NHIA expressed that as the access to weekend service will gradually be decreased and the NHIA proposes to increase the budget for non-negotiable factors by 1.75%, there will be no extra funds to cover the cost caused by the new policy. The fee payer representatives also rejected to pick up this bill.
Mr Hsieh Tien-Jen, the Honorary President of the Consumers Foundation and also a fee payer representative, expressed that the changes of demographic structure and the treatment cost index are included in the non-negotiable factors. This means that the impact of the new policy has already been taken into account. The requests made not only by hospitals and clinics but also by Chinese medicine practitioners and dentists have all been rejected. Mr Hsieh pointed out that the two-days-off-per-week policy has not finalized yet as the new Premier Lai may modify the policy.
Despite the futile efforts in reaching consensus with hospitals and clinics, the negotiation with the Chinese medicine sector and the dentistry sector has been successful. The 2018 global budget for Chinese medicine will be NT$823 million, up by 20-30 million; and the budget for dentistry will be increased by 4%.
【2017-09-22/ United Evening News】