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Public can complain if turned away by hospitals: official

Public can complain if turned away by hospitals: official

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) Members of the public can file complaints with the Bureau of National Health Insurance if they are turned away by any hospitals after the introduction of a new patient classification system Sept. 1, an official said Thursday.
The bureau will take steps upon receiving such complaints, said Tsai Shu-ling, manager of the bureau's Medical Affairs Section.
Tsai was addressing concerns that the implementation of a diagnosis-related group (DRG) system, under which patients within each category are expected to use the same level of hospital resources, might lead to an increase in the number of cases in which seriously ill patients are turned away by hospitals.
Among the most vocal of the critics of the system is Taiwan Hospital Association President Wu De-lon, who has described the system as a failure that could result in the loss of life.
For example, Wu said, a patient who is hospitalized for pneumonia might also be suffering from hypertension and diabetes. However, the national insurance system will only pay the hospital a fixed amount according to the rate applicable to pneumonia patients.
Under these circumstances, some hospitals might refuse to admit patients suffering from severe disease, Wu noted.
The new system will classify patients into 967 categories, which will be enforced in various phases in the coming six years.
The first phase, which will come into force Sept. 1, will cover 111 categories, including appendicitis surgery, caesarean section, hemorrhoid removal, hernia repair surgery and myomectomy.
(By Y.F. Low)