Monday, December 10, 2018, 10:15 (GMT+7)
Financial Autonomy at the Military Hospital 175

Organizational and management reform to improve governmental bodies’ working performance is a major policy of our Party and State. Fully grasping this principle, in recent years Military Hospital 175 has applied many approaches to effectively utilize its status as a financially autonomous governmental organization to fulfill its assigned military tasks and provide healthcare services for the local population.

As a strategic military hospital and a major military medical center in the South, Military Hospital 175 boasts a sophisticated medical infrastructure and a staff of talented medical personnel, highly experienced in providing medical services for both military members and civilians. In the last few years, the hospital has not only accomplished its duty as a military unit in supporting combat missions, delivering healthcare for service members in the South, providing medical support for Spratly Islands, and participating in building Vietnam Level-2 Field Hospital No.1 for UN Peacekeeping Mission, etc., but also been an active actor in providing medical care for the local population.

To successfully fulfill any given tasks, the hospital leadership has focused on implementing organizational and management reforms as guided by the Party, the Government and the Military, in which financial autonomy is a core element. Under this mechanism, the State only provides an appropriate proportion of military hospitals’ budget, based on their assigned missions and designated tier, instead of granting them full financial support like before. This is the basis for these units to gradually achieve comprehensive autonomy in terms of finance to fully exploit their potential, enhance their competitiveness, promote “Military Hospital” trademark and create favorable conditions to mobilize resources from the society.

The Hospital’s leadership report the implementation of financial autonomy mechanism to the Delegation of the Ministry of National Defense

That said, during the past few years, Military Hospital 175 has achieved important results in implementing financial autonomy. Notably, the hospital has managed to achieve initial successes in financial planning and allocation; and in implementing multiple solutions to increase the budget and improve the quality of its medical services. Besides, in terms of personnel work and organizational structure, the unit has applied various methods to reduce its working staff to a sufficient size in accordance to Ministry of National Defense’s guideline and ensure its effectiveness in meeting healthcare demands of the local population. In fact, the mechanism of financial autonomy has significantly accelerated the hospital’s administrative reform, resulting in many encouraging outcomes which have helped reduce patients’ cost and waiting time. At the same time, training programs for medical personnel to enhance their professional skills and working ethics, the development of core medical specialties, and the application of advanced medical technologies were pushed ahead, and there have been in-depth and sustainable progress in these projects. In fact, thanks to these efforts, Military Hospital 175 was able to accomplish its assigned tasks, became an exemplary actor in our national healthcare system, and was highly appreciated by Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Health and the local authority and people.

Needless to say, financial autonomy is a new policy which is being gradually implemented and covers a wide range of issues. Nevertheless, legal documents which act as the guideline to implement this policy have not been fully developed. Therefore, synchronized approaches should be applied to the process of managing, instructing and organizing the implementation of this initiative to ensure its effectiveness, major attentions should be put in the following points.

First, increase propaganda and education activities to enhance the unit’s personnel’s awareness of financial autonomy mechanism. That said, every staff member of Military Hospital 175, especially commanding officers, must clearly understand this policy’s objectives, requirements and content; and fully grasp related principals and solutions determined by the Central Military Commission and Ministry of Nation Defense. In fact, the hospital’s leadership ordered its subordinate contingents to further study Medical Insurance Law, Directive 85/CT-BQP on “Financial autonomy for military hospitals and medical facilities”, Guideline 2648/HD-QL on “Autonomous authorities for military hospitals”, etc. Grounded on these documents, it can be said that granting financial autonomy for military hospitals is a correct policy, showing a strong political determination from the Central Military Commission and Ministry of National Defense. Under this policy, the State and the Ministry of National Defense only provide a portion of operational budget for the Military Hospital 175; therefore, it has to depend on the revenue from insured medical treatment and other types of healthcare services to cover the rest of its budget. The new financial initiative expands the autonomy of the hospital, but it also holds the unit’s leadership more accountable to the law, superior commands and its own party committee. Thus, it is very important to create a general consensus among the hospital staff to ensure the success of this mechanism right from the beginning of its implementation.

Second, it is critical to fully utilize the leadership capability of party committees and administrative staffs at all levels in materializing financial autonomy mechanism. Based on the Military Hospital 175’s Party Committee Specialized Resolution on Financial Autonomy, its subordinate party committees and administrative staffs issued their own leadership resolutions with specific criteria and measures to implement the mechanism appropriate to the planned schedule and the actual state of the hospital. Subsequently, leadership at all levels proposed new approaches to create favorable condition for innovations in working method and implement effective division of authority and responsibility. Besides, the hospital’s departments, administrative offices and other subordinate contingents were required to increase inspection and oversight to ensure transparency and efficiency in using financial resources; and eliminate the idea that increasing the unit’s revenue is more important than fulfill the duty of a military hospital. Also, the Directorate and subordinate administrative staff developed clear and specific guidelines and regulations for their respective levels to facilitate the implementation of financial autonomy. At the same time, they gave special attentions to the work of evaluating, reviewing and summarizing experience gained from the process of realizing this new policy to gradually create a solid and effective financial mechanism for the hospital.

Third, further improve service attitude, create a friendly, cultured and transparent environment in the hospital, bringing positive experiences to patients. In recent years, to further materialize financial autonomy mechanism, the Military Hospital 175 leadership has always focused on educating and strengthening working ethics and responsibility for its medical personnel as military medics. Based on past results, in the coming years, the hospital will continue to “Enhance service attitude for patients’ better experiences”; strictly impose medical personnel’s Code of Conduct; and reform reception procedures, and put into service suggestion boxes, hotline and receiving offices. At the same time, a social worker team will be established to answer any inquiries from patients in a timely manner; and all information related to medical examination and treatment processes and healthcare services will be publicly released. That said, patients will be explained in details about their condition, anticipated treatment; consulted before medical tests; and updated on all types of medical costs, etc. The hospital will also increase oversight on procedures of applying medicines and medical technologies to ensure patients’ benefit; aiming to achieve over 90% satisfaction rate among its patients.

Fourth, constantly improve the hospital’s human resources, and effective invest and utilize modern infrastructure and technologies. This is a key factor in enhancing the unit’s financial autonomy mechanism. That said, in the past few years, Military Hospital 175 has spent a sufficient amount of fund for personnel training, including sending cadres to study abroad. At the same time, flexible training methods have been applied, such as: professional tutoring programs, experience sharing sessions, scientific researches. Also, more funds have been invested on acquiring new medical equipment to meet requirements of present and future tasks. In the coming years, the hospital will continue to work with its foreign partners which are military hospitals in Australia, the U.S., Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, etc. to exchange and update new medical technologies. Besides, the unit will further apply advanced diagnosis and treatment techniques; standardize its human resources and mobilize financial supports from various sources to upgrade its infrastructure and establish a Traumato-orthopedics Hospital and a General Hospital to accomplish the goal of becoming a special-tier Military Hospital in the South by 2020.

Financial autonomy is a new policy, so that there will be many difficulties occur in the initial phases of its implementation. Therefore, the Military Hospital 175’s Directorate and Party Committee must demonstrate high responsibility in leading the process of realizing this initiative to truly improve the quality of financial management to meet requirements of new tasks in the new situation.

Senior Colonel Tran Duc Thang, Military Hospital 175 Vice Director

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