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ČR plans crucial change to hospital care financing system

19 November 2015

Prague, Nov 18 (CTK) - The Czech state plans the most significant change to the system of acute hospital care financing in the past 15 years, with health insurers starting to pay for particular diagnoses instead of providing flat payments to hospitals, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek said on Wednesday.

The change will result in uniform rules and volume of insurance payments to hospitals, and the flows of money will become transparent, Nemecek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists.

Hospitals should no longer reject patients with the argument that the insurers would not cover the care.

The goal of the reform is to justly distribute the 120 billion crowns that hospitals annually receive from insurers for medical services.

The new system is to be fully introduced as of 2018.

Based on the government´s decision, its preparation has been financed from the EU money.

"We want hospitals to justly receive payments for the services provided. A condition for this is the introduction of a new system of financial coverage that will reflect the real expenses of most Czech hospitals," Nemecek said before the start of a two-day conference about the planned reforms, attended by representatives of hospitals, insurers and self-rule regions.

"In every hospital, the treatment will be provided according to the same standard and it will be financed in the same way," Nemecek said.

The reform has been drafted by Ladislav Dusek, head of the Institute for Health Information and Statistics.

If the "economic restart" succeeds, patients will gain access to data that will enable them assess the performance of particular hospitals on the Internet.

It should also result in steps aimed to boost people´s access to health care, Dusek said.

In the meantime, the unions of health care workers criticised Nemecek at their national meeting elsewhere in Prague and called for a rise in the hospital staff´s pay and improvement of their work conditions.

The unions warned of the shortage of and further decline in the number of nurses and doctors, which leads to the closure of more and more hospital wards and excessively raises the workload for the employees.

The unions also criticises as too low the contribution the state pays to health insurers for selected groups of inhabitants such as children, students, pensioners and the disabled.

They criticised the differences in the insurance contributions paid by employees and self-employed people, and in the salaries in state and private hospitals.

Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) again said that money has been wasted in the health sector, which Nemecek fails to manage appropriately and whose system of financing needs restructuring.

Babis called on Nemecek to ensure the sector´s bigger effectivity.

"It is impossible to raise the insurance fees the state pays for selected groups in a situation where non-transparent purchases have been underway in the health sector, which has no system of central purchasing," Babis said.

Nevertheless, he said he is ready to support the introduction of equal base pay of the staff in the state-run hospitals and in the private facilities where the pay is often lower now.

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