Ministry should better monitor hospitals' usage of budget: CF
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Consumers' Foundation (CF) yesterday blasted hospitals for asking for more money on the one hand, while decreasing the number of beds on the other hand.
September 25, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
The foundation added that unless hospitals show better performance, subsidies under the National Health Insurance (NHI) program should be adjusted accordingly.
The CF said that the annual amount of NHI fees for hospitals has been increasing, but most hospitals do not use these funds to improve the quality of their medical care.
Hsieh Tien-jen, honorary board chairman of the CF, said that many hospitals do not use the funds appropriately, leaving them with a shortage of beds.
According to Hsieh, the government increased hospital subsidies by NT$19.8 billion in 2013, of which NT$10.8 billion was designated for inpatient-related programs.
“(However,) medical centers nationwide removed 394 beds, while hospitals removed 1,583 beds between April and June, which resulted in emergency rooms overflowing with patients,” Hsieh said.
CF Secretary-General Lei Li-fen (雷立芬) said that most hospitals did not reinvest in improving the quality of their medical care, even after their budgets were increased.
“Those hospitals did not hire more staff or increase the number of beds after the funds were increased. What did the hospitals spend the budgets on?” Lei said.
“The Ministry of Health and Welfare should better monitor hospitals' usage of the funds to avoid wasting health insurance premiums paid by the public,” Lei said.
Hsieh also said that the only way the ministry can protect patients' rights is to make sure hospitals spend their government funding on medical services.
The CF suggested that the government should set goals when deciding on the amount of funds to be awarded to hospitals, or decrease the amount of funding for hospitals next year.
“The government should also monitor hospitals and see if they are using their funds on medical services and equipment in order to protect patients' rights,” said Hsieh.