Unregistered postnatal care center under fire

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei Councilor Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) yesterday accused a luxury postnatal care center in Taipei of being unregistered and of misappropriating emergency beds from West Garden Hospital.

Hsu said that the city's Department of Health (DOH) has known about the situation since 2011, but has failed to take action against the center.

In response, the DOH said that the center will face fines in accordance with the Medical Care Act, and that the city government will retrieve the emergency beds from the center within three months.

Hsu said the postnatal care center, Eonway, has been operating in the city for over eight years without registering with the DOH, and the center has been working with Eonway Health Maintenance Center to take emergency beds from West Garden Hospital.

Hsu said the postnatal care center applies for subsidies from the Bureau of National Health Insurance while at the same time charging mothers NT$8,000 a day for postnatal care.

The city councilor said that according to current regulations, all postnatal care centers should be registered at the DOH, and the standard charge should be a maximum of NT$5,700 per day.

The Eonway center fails to comply with both regulations, according to Hsu. She said she investigated the center and discovered that it is associated with the West Garden Hospital, and has misappropriated the hospital's emergency beds for use by new mothers.

The city councilor said that Taipei exercises strict quantity control rules regarding the emergency beds of all hospitals, and it is unacceptable that the center occupies other hospital's emergency bed quota, Hsu said.

Deputy DOH Commissioner Chen Cheng-cheng (陳正誠) said the department discovered that there were emergency beds being misused as postnatal care beds in 2011. Chen said the DOH will request the center return the beds.

As for the subsidies provided by the Bureau of National Health Insurance, Chen said the city government will request the bureau investigate the center, noting that the center faces fines between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000, and NT$50,000 and NT$250,000 for violation of Medical Care Act articles 12 and 61.