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Vietnam treats COVID-19 patients for free, but how much does it cost for state budget?

Thursday, September 23, 2021, 11:35 GMT+7
Vietnam treats COVID-19 patients for free, but how much does it cost for state budget?
A severe COVID-19 patient is under hospital treatment in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

The average cost of hospital care for COVID-19 patients varies greatly by different factors, including their underlying health conditions and duration of treatment.

As COVID-19 is classified as a group-A infectious disease in Vietnam, all of the hospital fees for patients without underlying diseases are covered by the state budget.

For insured cases with comorbidities, the health insurance fund covers the majority of the hospitalization expenses, while patients pay about 20 percent of the total charges.

The treatment expenditures depend on the severity of the disease in each patient, according to a medical expert.

The charges average out at VND1-1.5 million (US$44-66) per day for a patient under non-invasive ventilation and VND3-3.5 million ($132-154) a day for those under invasive ventilation.

The amount ascends to VND20-30 million ($880-1,320) a day for a case requiring continuous dialysis or ECMO, an outside-body life support system.

In addition, the longer treatment time is, the costlier medical expenses become.

Normally, a patient resorting to ECMO must undergo treatment for a minimum period of 15-30 days.

The care for a patient under a combination of intensive resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, continuous dialysis, and ECMO costs up to VND1.2-1.5 billion ($52,810-65,905) for the whole course.

A severe patient with mechanical ventilation and no ECMO is subject to a range from VND100 million ($4,400) to VND200 million ($8,800), while that for a mild or moderate inpatient varies between VND1 million and VND20 million.

Vietnam had 5,477 serious COVID-19 patients under hospital treatment, including 916 cases with a high flow nasal cannula, 232 cases under non-invasive ventilation, 771 cases under invasive ventilation, and 34 cases using ECMO, as of September 18.

The country has recorded 718,963 patients, including 487,262 recoveries and 17,781 deaths, since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit it early last year.

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