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Free Health Now Available to the People of Bali

A Bumpy Start on the Road to Governor Pastika's Program to Provide Free Health Service for all Balinese.

Bali News: Bali, public health, Governor Made Mangku Pastika, JKBM, Free Public Health.
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Radar Bali reports that despite reports of refusal to provide free medical treatment in Jembrana, Governor Pastika's Bali Mandara Free Health Care Scheme (JKBM) is up and running.

Funded with billions of rupiahs and officially launched on January 1, 2010, patients in need of medical care or hospitalization only have to present a Balinese Identity Card (KTP) to be treated without charge.

The head of the Public Relations and Protocol Division of the Provincial Government of Bali, I Ketut Teneng, said: "The JKBM has taken off and can now be used by the public as free health insurance for the people of Bali. As of January 1, 2010, the system can serve the public."

The free public health program has received an initial funding allocation of Rp. 100 billion (US$10 million) to be paid from the 2010 provincial budget approved by the island's House of Representatives. Additional funding is expected from the regency governments of Bali who are scheduled to pay Rp. 81 billion (US$8.1 million) more comprised of contributions from Buleleng Rp. 17.9 billion; Tabanan Rp. 14.3 billion; Badung Rp. 10.3 billion; Denpasar Rp 12.6 billion; Gianyar Rp. 13.4 billion; Bangli Rp. 11.1 billion; Klungkung Rp. 8.4 billion; and Karangasem Rp. 11.6 billion.

The Bali regency of Jembrana has refused to participate in funding the program although the government is, nonetheless, providing free-of-charge medical treatment to all Bali residents, including the people of Jembrana.

Teneng explained that Balinese residents need only show their KTP to obtain free treatment. However, to receive free care from a local hospital the sick and injured must first report to a local community health center (PUSKESMAS) to obtain a referral to a public hospital. Emergency cases can go directly to any public hospital for treatment.

The new program is intended to provide health coverage for those outside the protection offered by existing insurance programs. Civil servants, police, military and those covered for public transportation mishaps by Jamsostek and Jasa Raharja will have no need for the new provincial health coverage.

Bali's governor called for patience as the new system of health coverage is introduced and while bureaucrats figure out how the system will actually operate on the ground.

Governor is Disappointed

The National News Agency Antara reports separately that Governor Pastika is surprised and disappointed with how JKBM has been initially introduced in Bali.

Speaking to the press, Pastika said: "The structural officials, such as regency health agency chiefs and heads of local hospitals, claim to be ignorant (of the new system). But, in fact, they have been involved since the very inception of JKBM. This is quite surprising."

Governor Pastika was also surprised when he learned that the Local Health Center (Puskesmas) in Sumerta in Denpasar was not providing health services when he paid a surprised visit. The reason? Officials were busy holding an odalan - an anniversary ceremony for the Puskesman building.

Pastika asked: "How does this happen? In fact, the JKBM program stipulates that Puskesmas must be open on a 24 hour basis, while at the same time conserving operational costs. But, in fact, this is what happens. Whatís more they close on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. How are we going to provide round-the-clock medical service to the poor?"

The Governor said he will continue to conduct field check, hoping his desire to provide free health care to the poor can be realized in the near future.

"We have a good intention with a high purpose, but there are impediments. I am surprised, when in fact the Head of the Provincial Health Service has said at every meeting that all elements of the health service are involved (in the new program)," added Pastika.

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