Dubai, UAE: Rashid Hospital is the first public hospital to provide emergency services to any insured person in Dubai.
The emergency section of Rashid Hospital is now accessible to any insured person in Dubai, as the hospital has started to accept expatriates as well as citizens in their emergency unit.
The hospital is the first in a move to make emergency services at government hospitals accessible to all.
The mandatory insurance scheme of Dubai that was announced in November last year and renamed ISAHD (Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai), which means "Happiness" in Arabic, made it mandatory for any person present in the emirate to be covered by at least a basic health insurance package in a move to make healthcare accessible to everybody.
The minimum requirements of the basic package were defined by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which stated that access to emergency medical care should be provided to any person.
In addition, the emergency care at government hospitals should be available to any insured person, regardless of the kind of residency permit that person holds.
"As the government hospitals are notable for their emergency services, these services should be available to any person regardless of the kind of insurance he has," said Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at the DHA.
"In case of an emergency, the person should be able to be rushed into any emergency unit. After the first aid is delivered, the patient can look into his insurance policy and be transferred to a hospital where he will be covered for the medical aid after the emergency," he explained.
The emergency insurance scheme will be adopted by all four government hospitals over the next six months, and has been kicked off at Rashid Hospital already.
The hospitals to follow are Latifa Hosital, Dubai Hospital and Hatta Hospital.
General healthcare at government hospitals will not remain restricted to the local population, however, access will depend on the insurance coverage of each insurance company.
Insurance companies may opt to include public hospitals on their list, and so far around 20 companies have done this, explained Al Yousuf. Any person insured by these companies will have access to medical aid at government hospitals.
"Depending on the insurance companies’ policies, healthcare will be available at public as well as private hospitals. Public hospitals will act as private hospitals in providing healthcare to insured patients. The idea is that patients are not bound by financial considerations when selecting the healthcare of their choice. They will be able to select the services they find most attractive," explained Al Yousuf at the time the new law was announced.
In addition to the public hospitals, medical services at the 20 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres operated by the DHA will also become available for the public.
The insurance scheme is expected to be completely in place by mid-2016, and the DHA will soon announce a list of the insurance companies that have been permitted to operate according to the new rules.
By October this year, all companies with 1,000 employees or more should provide coverage as per the new law. By mid-2016, small and medium enterprises, domestic staff and dependents will have to be covered by the minimum of basic health insurance coverage.
© Emirates 24|7 2014Feb 2014