Medical facilities told to not hike COVID-19 tests prices amid case surge

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SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test kits. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Health centres nationwide are being warned not to take advantage of the pandemic by hiking up prices of COVID tests.

The Ministry of Health has told departments of health in provinces and cities, as well as private medical facilities, to keep cost of tests at a reasonable rate.

A circular from the ministry that came into effect last month stipulated prices for SARS-CoV-2 testing services performed by the State’s medical facilities, including taking samples, preserving and testing the samples, and returning test results.

It applies to the payment of costs for SARS-CoV-2 testing in accordance with the law on health insurance; people who pay for the services themselves, and those whose costs are covered by the State in line with the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases.

The latest document recommends that units and localities continue to strictly carry out testing according to the directions and instructions of the Ministry of Health to ensure scientific, practical, and suitable response to the pandemic situation, avoiding abuse and waste.

The ministry also asked health departments to determine price levels in case it is not within the payment range of the Health Insurance Fund applicable to State-owned medical examination and treatment facilities.

Medical establishments are responsible for purchasing supplies, chemicals and biological products for SARS-CoV-2 testing in accordance with the law on bidding; and ensure adequate products for testing when patients come for medical examination and treatment.

Medical facilities may not collect additional fees from patients or require patients to pay for their own costs related to testing (for instance paying for a rapid test kit).

Departments of Health, according to their functions and tasks, are asked to strengthen inspections and examinations and require medical facilities to publicly announce the prices of COVID-19 testing services in accordance with the law on prices.

These agencies must also strictly handle any violations. VNS

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