A shortage of third-class beds appears to be one of the critical challenges facing the Indonesian government as it prepares for the implementation of the Social Security Providers (BPJS) Law on Jan.1, 2014, a senior health official says.
The Health Ministry’s director for health coverage and financing, Usman Sumantri, said Friday that the ministry would focus its resources on improving the basic health care system by ensuring a more even distribution of quality facilities and skilled health workers ahead of the introduction of the social security scheme in 2014.
“We have about 220,000 third-class beds and that, as a total figure, is enough. However, although there is an adequate number of beds per capita, they tend to be concentrated in particular areas, resulting in huge disparities in distribution across the country,” he said after attending a ceremony to mark the nation's 67th Independence Day at the Health Ministry.
With less than two years to go until 2014, the government is gearing up its efforts to ensure that both health care facilities and skilled health workers are evenly distributed throughout the country.
“We need up to 96,000 third-class beds to ensure that once the BPJS comes into effect, health care providers can adequately serve all their patients,” said Usman.
In the 2013 fiscal year, the Health Ministry will receive an increased budgetary allocation of Rp 31.2 trillion (US$3.27 billion). It is one of seven ministries and other government institutions that are slated to receive budgetary allocations of more than Rp 20 trillion each in 2013, including the Defense Ministry with Rp 77.7 trillion; the Education and Culture Ministry with Rp 66 trillion; the National Police with Rp 43.4 trillion; the Religious Affairs Ministry with Rp 41.7 trillion; and the Transportation Ministry with Rp 31.4 trillion.
With the increased budget, Usman said, the government would also provide incentives needed to attract more doctors, particularly specialists, to work in remote areas, cross-border provinces and outer-lying islands.
“We currently have an adequate number of doctors per capita but they are concentrated in mainly urban centers. With the increased funding, we will try to encourage them to work in peripheral areas,” he said.
The Health Ministry’s director general for health management, Supriyantoro, said the ministry would develop more third-class facilities called “Rumah Sakit Pratama” and “Rumah Sakit Bergerak” in its efforts to better connect people living in remote areas to health care facilities.
Pratama hospitals, or hospitals which have only third-class facilities, are specially designed to reach out to patients living in areas with poor access to health care facilities.
Supriyantoro said the reconstruction budget for each Pratama hospital was more efficient and it could offer patients quality third-class care.
“To develop one Pratama hospital with 50 beds, we need only Rp 15 billion, while in Papua, we may need Rp 50 billion just for the refurbishment of a hospital building,” he said, adding that the government would continue to consider the capacity of the state budget in further developing third-class facilities. (swd)