It is undeniable that private hospitals have been affected by the Covid-19 epidemic for more than 2 years, mainly due to various measures that have reduced Thai and foreign clientele. Therefore, they have to adapt and turn to screening and treating Covid-infected patients in order to earn money to sustain their business.
As “Med Park”, a large hospital opened in late 2020 must face many challenges such as managing the covid 19 crisis. The Med Park must play an important role and cooperate with the government as a spearhead in vaccinating the population by using the hospital premises as a vaccination center for Thais and foreigners. The aim is also to popularize it.
On May 25, 2022, Dr. Phongphat Patanavanich, deputy general manager of TPP Healthcare International Co, Ltd. and general manager of Med Park Hospital, spoke at the seminar “New Chapter Thai economy” organized by the newspaper “Prachachat Business”. He said that the epidemic crisis of the Covid-19 virus that has been spreading for 2 years has taught businesses a lot. It can be seen that Thailand can solve the problem of covid despite having a middle income and not much GDP growth, but used the budget for health care to the public for free.
At the same time, the budget is currently used in the health care system, accounting for 20% of the total tax.
Despite the injuries and the relatively large budget, the country has managed.
What is important if a crisis occurs again is how to deal with it? Since the economy is not good, there is no money. The first thing to do is to produce medical personnel. Thailand is fortunate that the provinces have a large number of village health volunteers.
In addition, the safety net must focus on the cost of medical equipment. It is a fact that in Thailand, even salt water cannot be produced, while it exports sugar. During COVID-19, Thailand had to rely on Singapore-based medical equipment companies. Therefore, it needs to change its perspective. It has to have a safety net to be able to compete with others in the future.
Talking about Thailand’s health care system in the future, we can see that currently there is a 30 baht health insurance system that has been used since 2003. However we can see that the utilization rate of the 13 million poorest people only uses 24-25% of the money of the gold card system. The rest is used by middle and upper class gold card holders. This condition applies from the beginning of the project in 2003 until today. The health insurance system has spent nearly 200 billion in the country’s budget, not including the budget of the Ministry of Health. A total of more than 3-4 hundred billion baht for the budget of social protection for civil servants.
In the past, Thailand spoke of Medical Hub. Since the Thaksin government, the BOI has never enacted a law to promote investment in medical hubs until today. Because every time we do it, there is no promotion. And there is no law to support it.
On the other hand, Thailand has revenue from the medical hub of about $4.3 billion. Singapore’s income is almost the same as Thailand’s however there are only 800,000 patients, while Thailand has 2 to 3 million, which means the per capita income is 30 times less than Singapore’s, where most patients with complex diseases go to Singapore for treatment because the government supports the Medical Hub. As for Thailand, the BOI has not yet given it. When Medpark opened, the goal was to treat difficult and complex diseases.
All these projects are new chapters that will take place in the future.