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Health insurer offers advantages to GPs in remote regions

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Prague, Aug 26 (CTK) – The General Health Insurance Company (VZP), the state-run largest health insurer in the Czech Republic, will provide extra financial bonuses to general and child practitioners working in remote regions that most doctors tend to shun, VZP head Zdenek Kabatek has told reporters.

If no applicants submit their bids in the VZP’s tender for the launch of a new surgery in a certain district, the VZP will offer a financial bonus to potential bidders in the next round of the tender.

The bonus would be 30 percent of the doctor’s regular wage, Kabatek said.

It is Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek (Social Democrats, CSSD), who has asked the VZP to take steps to motivate doctors to work in remote areas, mainly the borderland.

He said all inhabitants have access to medical care in accordance with the relevant law, but still GPs’ surgeries may be worse accessible in some areas with a low density of population, mainly for old people and the families that do not own a car.

The VZP pays a flat sum to GPs for each of their regular patients, plus the price of particular medical services provided to them.

An average GP’s surgery earns about two million crowns a year. The VZP’s bonus for a GP in a remote area could mean their extra revenue of 600,000 crowns a year.

The doctors settling in “unpopular regions” would have the bonus guaranteed for five years.

“We believe that the bonus will go to dozens of doctors, and maybe hundreds in the future, because the population of general practitioners is rapidly ageing,” Kabatek said.

The VZP also plans to offer a bonus of up to 40,000 crowns a year to the doctors whose surgeries would remain open until 6:00 p.m. twice a week at least and who would focus on preventative care, Kabatek said.

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