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Anutin to seek Cabinet nod on new conditions for Covid treatment

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday that he would next week present to the Cabinet new conditions for treatment of Covid-19 patients under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) scheme, which will ensure that patients in all categories receive treatment at suitable facilities.

“The new, improved UCEP scheme for Covid-19 patients will be called UCEP Covid Plus,” he announced. “There will be clear criteria on patient classification to ensure that patients in yellow and red categories can still receive treatment at any hospital free of charge.”

Yellow category patients are those who have moderate Covid-19 symptoms or underlying health problems that require close monitoring, while red category patients are those who have severe symptoms and/or require respirators.

The Public Health Ministry on March 1 adjusted the UCEP condition for Covid-19 patients in the green category, or those who have mild or no symptoms.

Under old conditions, Covid patients receive three days of free treatment at any facility before being switched to hospital treatment under their state health insurance scheme. However, after March 1, those who test positive for Covid-19 but do not require critical care will have to pay their own medical bills if they choose to seek treatment at private hospitals. Green patients can still receive free Covid-19 treatment under home/community isolation.

“The adjustment of UCEP conditions is possible when we know the cause of the disease, as well as how to contain and treat it properly,” said Anutin.

“The new conditions will help us manage hospital beds and medical resources efficiently by making sure the best treatment goes to those who really need it.”

Anutin expects UCEP Covid Plus to be officially announced on either March 16 or April 1, depending on cabinet approval and suggestions.

The minister also said the adjustment was not due to a shortage of drug supplies, and insisted that Thailand had an adequate stock of Favipiravir, despite the current average usage of 2 million tablets per day.

Published : March 03, 2022