Regime gives nod to health reform plan

Untitled8BANGKOK POST Issued date 1 August 2014
PARITTA WANGKIAT
The National Health Commission Office’s (NHCO) plan to decentralise the health reform process has been approved by the military.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s psychological and social welfare department agreed at a meeting with health bodies yesterday to adapt the NHC’s resolution for decentralisation of the healthcare system.
The resolution was based on a concept of decentralisation governance in health promotion systems, services, personnel production and development and financial systems.
It also focuses on network contributions for health system governance.
A source told the Bangkok Post the decentralisation decision, which was raised by the NCPO’s representatives, suggested the military had done some research on the health system prior to the meeting.
But the resolution may contradict part of the Public Health Ministry’s earlier proposal for health reform, the source said.
Led by health permanent secretary-general Narong Sahametapat, the ministry has been pushing for a zoning project to divide Thailand into 12 health regional zones.
Each zone will have its own committee. A universal coverage capitation fund will be directed to the regional committee which will later distribute the money to local hospitals.
Dr Narong said the regional zone plan was intended to decentralise health governance.
But civil society groups disagreed, saying the committee was often linked to executives in the ministry, resulting in “centralisation”.
Further discussion about health reform between the NCPO and its ministries will be held in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, the NCPO set up a new committee recently to coordinate the work of three healthcare schemes, appointing Ammar Siamwalla as the committee chairman on July 21.
“The NCPO found inequality in the Thai health system, which better coordination might help solve,” Dr Narong said.
No topics concerning patient co-payments or the merger of three healthcare schemes were mentioned in the meeting, the source said.
NHCO secretary-general Ampon Jindawattana was invited to act as a secretary for the meeting yesterday.
No independent health bodies were invited to previous meetings relating to health reform.
The appearance of the NHCO yesterday may hint the NCPO would like to hear from other parties apart from the Public Health Ministry, the source said.

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