SEOUL, May 14 (Korea Bizwire) — The government plans to move up the deadlines for distributing compensation for all losses borne by hospitals specializing in infectious diseases fighting at the frontline against the coronavirus, and expand the scope of the program.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters announced Wednesday that it will push for the rapid distribution of compensatory funds, expansion of loan support, and special financial support for health insurance for medical institutions specializing in treating the coronavirus.
Currently, there are 379 screening centers, 40 hospitals specializing in infectious diseases, 29 medical institutions designated by the government for quarantine patients, and 338 ‘public relief’ hospitals.
As most hospitals are facing plunges in revenue due to a decreasing number of ordinary patients, those specializing in infectious diseases are on the verge of a management crisis as they are keeping their beds empty for emergencies.
In response, the government decided to move up the dates for distributing the second round of compensation funds to specialized hospitals, which was originally scheduled for June.
The government, in accordance with the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, is offering partial compensation for the losses borne by hospitals that are leaving their beds empty for coronavirus patients and those shut down after being exposed to a confirmed patient.
In other words, the government is paying for the cost of leaving the beds empty despite a lack of patients.
The government decided to calculate the approximate amount of compensation to offer financial support each month ever since.
It aims to resolve the management crisis at hand by offering subsidies every month, after considering that calculating the total sum of compensation would take a considerable amount of time.
The government will also expand the scope of compensation.
The first round of compensation funds disbursed in April was limited to losses caused by empty beds. This time, compensation will also cover losses caused by beds used by coronavirus patients.
In addition, a 400 billion won (US$326 million) fund will be created for loans to medical institutions in need of liquidity.
As of May 7, the government had issued loans of 137 billion won to 1,581 hospitals, including nine specialized hospitals.
To ensure that all loans are issued by early June, the government has already divided up the pooled fund among commercial banks.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)