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B101bn spent on COVID-19 treatments

BANGKOK: More than B101 billion of the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (Ucep) scheme has been spent treating COVID-19 sufferers, mostly with mild symptoms, over the past two years, says the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 24 February 2022, 09:01AM

Staff members handle documents of COVID-19 patients at Nopparatrajathanee Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday (Feb 22). Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya

Staff members handle documents of COVID-19 patients at Nopparatrajathanee Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday (Feb 22). Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said Ucep will carry on being used for COVID-19 treatments, adding that any changes to the scheme must not hinder people’s access to treatment, reports the Bangkok Post.

Dr Taweesilp’s remarks follow the Public Health Ministry’s request that the cabinet defer indefinitely the plan to remove COVID-19 treatment for sufferers with no or mild symptoms from the list of conditions covered by the Ucep scheme.

The plan sparked an outcry, prompting the ministry to explain that the offer of free treatment for people with moderate and severe conditions will be kept under Ucep.

Dr Taweesilp said yesterday (Feb 23) the cost of COVID-19 treatments has continued to climb since the first COVID outbreak in 2020.

In 2020, a budget of B3.8bn was disbursed for treating COVID-19 sufferers. Last year, the cost shot up to B97.7bn while this year’s total treatment cost has reached B32.4bn.

To date, about B101bn has been disbursed by the government to pay for treatment provided at both state-run and private medical facilities and hospitals. Another B32.4bn is pending disbursement.

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Breaking down the figures by sufferers’ conditions, for those in the green group with no or mild symptoms, the average cost is estimated at B23,248 per head per treatment at state-run hospitals, and B50,326 per person at private hospitals.

For sufferers in the yellow group or those with moderate conditions, the cost climbs to B81,844 per person per treatment at state-run hospitals and B92,752 on a comparable level at private hospitals.

For those in the red group with severe conditions, the cost rises to B252,182 per person per treatment at state-run hospitals and to B375,428 at private hospitals.

Starting from March 1, the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which manages Ucep, will reduce the maximum cost of treatment at state-run hospitals as it has determined the Omicron variant of COVID-19 generally does not cause severe conditions.

The CCSA has found that 88% of COVID-19 sufferers who received hospital care via Ucep were in the green group, while the yellow and red groups account for only 12% of patients.

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