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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > Many hospitals demand compensation for coronavirus-caused loss of earnings without delay
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2020 June 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Many hospitals demand compensation for coronavirus-caused loss of earnings without delay

June 10, 2020

To compensate medical institutions for losses of income caused by the coronavirus outbreak has become a pressing issue. Their financial situation is deteriorating as many patients stop going to hospital, put off scheduled hospitalization, and avoid having health checkups. Funding shortages of many institutions are becoming a serious concern. In order to protect community healthcare and to be prepared for a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections, it is necessary for the national government to subsidize their income losses.

Diet discussions on the government-proposed second supplementary budget draft began on June 8. Measures to cover the losses, however, are not incorporated in the draft while government subsidies for the medical care system overall are greatly expanded.

The Japan Municipal Hospital Association (JMHA), whose members include many medical institutions designated for specified infectious diseases, published the results of a survey in late May. According to the survey, 83.6% of hospitals state they are suffering a fall in revenues because of the rapid drop in the number of patients irrespective of whether they accept coronavirus patients or not. Hospitals accepting patients with coronavirus posted an 80-million-yen deficit on average in April. The largest deficit incurred by a hospital accepting COVID-19 patients was 700 million yen in March and by hospitals not accepting COVID-19 patients was 400 million yen.

According to another survey released by the Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-iren) in late May, three-fourths of its member hospitals and clinics responded that they could face a shortage of funds by the end of this year if adverse effects due to the coronavirus are protracted. These institutions added that their management is at the verge of collapse.

The central government calls on medical institutions to apply for emergency loans which are included in the second supplementary budget draft. Min-iren, however, pointed out, "Loans are borrowings which will only increase the repayment amount into the future." Min-iren demanded that the government compensate for losses of all medical institutions and nursing-care service providers.

Likewise, JMHA and municipal government heads also demanded that the central government implement support measures taking compensation into consideration.

Professor at Tsu City College (Mie Pref.) Nagatomo Masateru, an expert on community healthcare issues, explained, "Availability of healthcare is an essential service for people. To maintain a high quality and large quantity in medical care services, Japan has the across-the-board medical treatment fee system."

Nagatomo continued to say, "The central government is responsible for the stable supply of medical care. It should reflect on its policy of cutting back on public spending on medical services and should instead embark on compensating for losses. It is unacceptable for the government to promote the restructuring and streamlining of medical institutions by using the deterioration of their financial conditions as an excuse."

Past related articles:
> Gov't support for medical system grossly insufficient [April 23, 2020]
> JCP submits proposal in order to stop explosive spread of COVID-19 and collapse of medical system [April 17, 2020]
> 2 medical societies sense danger of possible medical collapse [April 12, 2020]
> JCP Koike talks about prevention of healthcare collapse over coronavirus outbreak and need to increase testing rate [April 11, 2020]
> COVID-19 crisis highlights mistake of gov’t policy to cut medical spending: Medical workers’ union [April 8, 2020]

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