According to Beritabali.com, the January 1, 2010, introduction of free medical care for all Bali residents under Governor Pastika's Jaminan Kesehatan Bali Mandara (JKBM) program has resulted in a ten-fold increase in poor people seeking medical assistance from Bali's already over-burdened public hospital system.
The JKBM Program promises free medical care and hospitalization in class III wards at all public hospitals.
The head of the Bali Health Service, Dr. Nyoman Sutedja, told the press that, in the past, the average number of poor patients seeking treatment at a single public hospital in Bali averaged around 100 patients per month. However, since the introduction of the JKBM Program on January 1st, that average looks to increase to 1,000 patients per month.
In order to deal with the sudden upsurge in patients at regency hospitals, the Bali Health service is urging public hospitals to form alliances with private hospitals in Bali. A number of local community health centers normally reserved only for outpatient treatments are being considered for upgrades to allow the warding overnight of the sick and injured. Of the 108 community health centers (puskesmas) enlisted in the JKBM Program 20 are equipped to admit overnight patients.
Some officials are hopeful that the current high demand for free medical service may reduce over coming weeks as the backlog of chronically ill patients seeking initial treatment gradually subsides.
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