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Bangkok Post
Thailand: Parity sought for HIV/AIDS, kidney cases: Medical benefits to be same for both groups

<p>Staff Writer</p>

September 20, 2012

Patients battling HIV/Aids and chronic kidney conditions under the country's three main healthcare schemes will begin receiving single standard medical treatment benefits from next month.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said preparations are under way to make sure the two groups of patients enjoy equality in medical benefits no matter which scheme is providing them.

At present the National Health Security Office (NHSO), Social Security Fund (SSF) and the Civil Servant's Welfare Fund (CSWF) provide different benefits.

For patients with chronic kidney conditions, the NHSO and CSWF provide haemodialysis to patients whose renal function is 15cc per minute. The SSF provides the same treatment benefit when the patient's renal function is 5cc per minute, he said.

The CSWF is for civil servants and their family members, the SSF for employees within the private sector, and the NHSO for people who are not entitled to the other two.

Mr Witthaya said that he will call a meeting with hospitals nationwide about introducing the single standard treatment later this month before it takes effect in October.

Mr Witthaya said patients will not be affected when they change healthcare schemes once the single standard is introduced, though the changes will take time to phase in.

"There shouldn't be any trouble making adjustments," he said. "But it should be completely done within two years. The patients will retain medical treatment without having to pay in advance."

Mr Witthaya said treatment benefits for HIV/Aids patients cover medication including anti-viral drugs, lab tests, counselling and blood tests, as well as other measures to prevent HIV-infected people developing full-blown Aids.

Treatment services for chronic kidney conditions cover peritonial dialysis and kidney transplants, he said.

The Public Health Ministry says there are 225,272 HIV/Aids patients. Of these, 148,357 have sought treatment under the NHSO, 46,114 are under the SSF and 12,059 use CSWF. The rest seek treatment benefits from other schemes.

Of 38,780 patients with chronic kidney conditions, 20,077 seek treatment under the NHSO, 9,193 come under the SSF, and 8,810 are covered by the CSWF.