Thailand to cut red tape after newborn baby dies

PHOTO: Thailand to cut red tape after newborn baby dies

The Social Security Office (SSO) will soon pay childbirth costs directly to the hospitals where the delivery is performed, following the recent death of a newborn baby whose mother was denied service by staff at two hospitals due to SSO-related red tape.

Once the relevant SSO regulations are amended, beneficiaries will be able to have their babies delivered, in both normal and emergency cases, at any hospital, which will later be reimbursed the standard cost of Bt13,000 (S$516) by the SSO, said acting SSO secretary-general Jirasuk Sugandhajati. He said an investigation into the death of the baby was under way and expected to be complete this week.

The amendment is expected to solve disputes over cross-hospital SSO payment conditions, making childbirth a standard procedure in all cases, whether the birth is timely or premature, he said.

Cholthicha Wanthip, 31, was turned away by a hospital at which she had SSO coverage after staff said childbirth was not a covered procedure. She was told she would need to advance Bt18,000 to have medical staff deliver her child. After going into labour prematurely, the woman returned to her small rented room and was delivered of a boy there, who later died.