Thursday, March 28, 2013

When is a bill not a bill? When provided by an SL State Hospital!!

A well intentioned proposal to give patients (in this case, in house patients in Government Hospitals) an indication of the cost of their treatment has come under fire by the GMOA before it even debuts!

I do believe patients who receive free treatment MUST be aware of the Cost the Government expends on their treatment, so that our citizens are aware of how much is being spent on the healthcare system in the country, and hopefully will not abuse the system in place. The latter wish is unlikely to be granted, as we waste subsidized resources in an irresponsible way. An appreciation at least is enough!

Then, when a patient leaves the hospital, he or she will walk away with a rough idea of the cost of their care and more often than not be surprised as to how much hospital stay actually is! We in Sri Lanka tend to abuse the hospital stays, requiring doctors to keep us for longer. However doctors DO keep us in hospital as a precaution, fearing that our home conditions may be too hazardous with regards to contracting secondary infections. It is ironic that one of the main reasons other than cost, where patients are discharged as soon as practical in Overseas hospitals is due to the concern of catching lifethreatening penicillin resistant bacterial infections IN Hospitals! 

The concerns raised by the GMOA, were that the cost will be higher than in the Private Sector, thereby encouraging the private sector (PS) to raise their fees, by saying that the Govt sector charges are higher. It is important therefore to avoid these conflicts, by just charging market rates, as adjusted, for the lower level of services and amenities in the Public Sector. It is not necessary to impute a real cost as I can say with confidence that it is fraught with too many assumptions. 

One must look at costs that are higher than the private sector. Then we will know if it is due to internal inefficiencies, and steps will be implemented to reduce the costs. In this manner the real reason for adopting this novel approach (as explained above) will bring positive results to the health-sector, and perhaps some of the horrendous wastages in the Health Sector will be eliminated with a possibility of reducing the costs, and therefore be more productive with the Nations Wealth.

It’s in everyone’s interest to stop the abuse of state subsidies for the greater good.

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