• Jiji


Japan’s health ministry said Tuesday it will triple medical service fees paid to medical institutions treating novel coronavirus patients at home and hotels by making emergency visits.

The amount paid per visit under the public health insurance system rises from the current ¥9,500 to ¥28,500, effective Tuesday.

Medical institutions providing antibody cocktail treatment aimed at preventing severe symptoms are now set to receive ¥47,500 per visit, five times the current amount.

In preparation for a possible resurgence of the virus in winter, the ministry hopes to strengthen treatment for infected people instructed to stay home in order to reduce the number of severely ill patients.

“We want (medical institutions) to do more to prevent infection,” health minister Norihisa Tamura told a press conference.

For outpatient care, medical service fees for medical institutions giving antibody cocktail therapy rise to ¥28,500 per treatment.

Medical institutions that say they accept people with fever on local government homepages will receive an additional ¥2,500 every time they provide care to outpatients with fever. The measure was devised because some institutions are reluctant to make such disclosures due to worries over harmful rumors.

In order to prioritize aid to medical institutions accepting coronavirus patients, the health ministry will also scrap a uniform COVID-19 medical fee increase at the end of this month. The increase, introduced in April, covers all medical institutions to encourage them to take steps to prevent coronavirus infection.

The ministry will instead introduce subsidies to cover medical institutions’ costs of COVID-19 infection prevention measures, such as purchases of protective clothing and staff training, from October to December.

Under the subsidy program, hospitals and clinics with beds will receive up to ¥100,000 over the three months, while those without beds can get up to ¥80,000.

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