NHSO Backs B51bn Loan To Cover COVID-19 Costs

Jadej Thammatacharee
National Health Security Office secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) Board has agreed to a proposal to secure a 51-billion-baht loan by executive decree. The loan will fund reimbursement claims for COVID-related services for 10 months.

Acquiring the loan began in earnest after a meeting on 7th February, presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, when it was agreed that a proposal to the NHSO board would encompass reimbursement claims from December last year to September this year.

The loan distribution is further divided into two segments: 34.52 billion baht for the period December 2021 to February 2022, and 16.53 billion baht for March to September 2022.

For the first segment, COVID-19 service costs will be calculated based on the real expenses of payments processed from December last year to January, while the rate for February will be calculated based on real expenses and average number of patients since April last year. New figures for COVID-19 service costs will be calculated for the loan’s second segment.

Of 16.53 billion baht, 9.69 billion baht is set for health promotion and COVID-19 prevention; 6.104 billion baht for medical expenses for COVID-19 patients including vaccine side effect treatment; and 732.64 million baht for compensation related to vaccines and services.

NHSO secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee said budget calculations for March-September 2022 are based on an expected reduction in the severity of the Omicron variant, along with a decrease in amounts originally earmarked for reimbursement claims as agreed by the NHSO board to alleviate the burden on the national budget.

Dr Thammatacharee also said cost adjustments were made for elements such as COVID-19 testing and PPE based on a seventh-month projection, thus reducing budget requirements by more than 1.72 billion baht.

Costs of specific medical services were likewise reduced, for instance, professional ATK testing with chromatography and fluorescent immunoassay (FIA) methods were reduced to 250 and 350 baht respectively. Other revised costs include RT-PCR test for detection of two target genes at 900 baht and three target genes at 1,100 baht.