BANGKOK – The Public Health Ministry will set up a “medical mediator” group to handle disputes over bill payments for treatment involving foreigners and hospitals in Thailand, Health Minister Pradit Sintawanarong said.
The mediator group will comprise 18 members, from both public and private medical organisations and representatives from Foreign Affairs Ministry, Thai Life Assurance Association and Healthcare Accreditation Institute (Public Organisation).
Sub-committees on finance and technical issues will be appointed to consider disputes. Outside experts will be invited to take part if needed, on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Pradit said the mediator group will act as negotiators and review opinions based on international medical practice and appropriate financial responses.
The ministry aims to upgrade the medical dispute settlement mechanism to international standard, as part of the policy to make Thailand a medical hub.
If the two parties involved agree to enter the system, the case must be concluded within 90 days.
Mr Pradit said a similar medical mediator system already operates in other countries. It is intended initially to serve the needs of foreigners who find they must meet medical expenses because they have no health insurance coverage. This group makes up about 80% of foreigners seeking medical treatment in Thailand.
The ministry has opened three channels for people who want to enter the mediator system through its www.thailandmedicalhub.net; email : email@example.com; call centre 02-293-7999, which operates around the clock; and direct petition to the Department of Health Service Support.
The ministry’s statistics show that 40% of complaints lodged with the government in 2012 related to the services of healthcare institutions, followed by treatment method (15%), expensive treatment bill (9%), behaviour of medical professionals (9%), and illegal clinics and illegal doctors (8%). BKK Post