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Hospitals Avoid Treatment under Medical Protection

Posted December. 27, 2001 09:32,   


As the provincial governments have delayed the payment of the medical treatment cost, the hospitals have been avoiding treatment under medical protection, whose medical costs have been supported by the central and provincial governments.

According to the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC), the medical institutions such as hospitals requested for the medical cost of 263.5 billion won to the local governments so far since the beginning of October, the governments paid only 20.2 billion won equivalent to 7.7 percent of the total amount asked to pay, and 243.3 billion won remained unpaid.

The provincial governments have not adequately paid the medical insurance deposit to the NHIC because of the lack of budget, etc. The government recast the regulations on the payment of the medical insurance deposit, which the local governments previously had paid to individual medical institutions by raising funds with the national and provincial budgets. According to a new regulation which has been executed from October, the NHIC should pay the medical cost to individual medical institutions after receiving the deposit from the local governments.

By province, Kyunggi Province delayed the payment of 36.4 billion won, followed by Chunnam Province (25.3 billion won), Seoul (23.9 billion won), Kyungbuk Province (23.1 billion won), Kyungnam Province (20.7 billion won), Chunbuk Province (20.7 billion won), and Pusan (20.6 billion won).

Among 16 cities and provinces, only three local governments paid the medical insurance deposit as follows; Seoul (10.6 billion won), Daegu (9.2 billion won), and Ulsan (370 million won). Such a delay of payment has increased the financial difficulty of the medical institutions, and as a result, the hospitals have been avoiding treatment under medical protection.

An official of the NHIC said, "The local governments have not paid the medical insurance deposit on time with reason for the lack of budget. The NHIC could not help but delay the payment of medical cost because it could not secure sufficient fund."

Chul Moon fullmoon@donga.com