The health insured in Vietnam is ruled to fix themselves in a certain single clinic at their selection on registry for the service.

Even more, all state-owned hospitals of provincial level do not receive patients with health insurance without recommendation by units of district level, and all district-level state clinics have been overloaded with patients.

According to regulation, the work permit of private hospital is granted by the Ministry of Health while the one for lower-level health unit is by provincial department of health. Most of the private clinics become expired by December 31, 2012 and before. Some of the private units failed to apply for extension of work permit due to their shortage of professionals as ruled by regulations.

A leader of the international hospital Vu Anh said his agency’s work permit was expired in October last year and he had applied for new certificate but the ministry has yet replied nor sent experts to make professional assessment again.

Vu Anh has around 13,000 people enrolling to have health insurance services, he added. Similarly, private clinic Phuoc An has 144,000 policyholders enrolled and Duc Khang clinic has 400 people having enrolled for service.

Cao Van Sang, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Health Insurance (HI) agency said he can’t go against the governmental regulation and thus, without work permit, the units will certainly not be extended their contacts.

Sang noted that patients enrolling with expired clinics will be moved to other units unless the Ministry of Health and provincial health departments agree to extend their work permits.

The HI also added that it sent dispatch to ask the HCMC Department of Health to check legal status of private healthcare units on November 7 to prepare for signing new contracts with them for 2013. HI also requested the department to reply by November 25 but it has received no reply till December 10.

In a talk with Tuoi Tre on December 10, Nguyen Tan Binh – director of the HCMC Department of Health – confirmed he has instructed his staff to settle the issue. The department will consider extending work permits of the clinics for six more months, he added.

Tuoi Tre News - December 15