Child care coverage, availability of GPs are Czech health sector priorities

Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said he will request an increase in fund for mental health care and prevention programs.


Written by ČTK Published on 13.05.2023 11:21:00 (updated on 13.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Health Ministry's priorities for health care reimbursement in 2024 by insurers are the availability of general practitioners (GPs), same-day medicine, screening checkups, prevention, and an adjustment of the reimbursement of child treatment that is more time-consuming, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said Friday.

The public health insurance system will have almost CZK 490 billion at its disposal next year, Válek told journalists. Negotiations between insurers and representatives of individual healthcare segments on the distribution of money for care next year began in January, with agreements expected to be concluded in June. The ministry does not officially intervene in the negotiations but presents its priorities through a council of healthcare providers.

Válek said he would ask health insurance companies to increase money for mental health care, to increase access to general practitioners for children and adults, or for prevention programs and screening examinations, where doctors invite otherwise healthy people in groups that have a higher risk of a certain type of cancer to potentially detect it early.

The screening programs now work for breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer in smokers. Válek previously said that prostate cancer screening will start its pilot phase next year and that overnight medicine and care in specialized centers will also be a priority. "These are systemic decisions that I will propose as a minister," he said.

He also wants to remedy the poorly set reimbursement for the above-mentioned medical procedures for children and adults. He said it was more time-consuming for a doctor to examine a child patient, which is why doctors should be paid more for such care. "If you have a hospital where most of the patients are children, that hospital will always be in the red," Válek added.

According to the materials from the negotiations between the ministry and insurers, the public health insurance system is expected to generate CZK 489.5 billion in revenue in 2024, about 6 percent more than this year. Last year, the cost of health services was CZK 420.7 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year. The largest share of the money goes to acute care hospitals, with CZK 221 billion last year. For example, dental care cost CZK 15 billion last year, GP care CZK 25 billion, and outpatient specialist care CZK 29 billion.

The public health insurance system has projected revenue of CZK 464 billion this year, 7.4 percent higher than last year. However, planned expenditures are still CZK 12 billion higher than revenues, so insurers will have to draw on reserves from previous years. The direct costs of healthcare will be CZK 432 billion.

Health insurers are expected to collect CZK 306.6 billion worth of people's health insurance fees this year, with another CZK 125.5 billion to be paid by the state for the state insured such as children, students, pensioners, the disabled, unemployed, and others. 

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