Czech medical chamber warns of decline in Czech healthcare standards

The government directive giving 8 percent in health insurers' payments to care providers isn't enough, say officials in the healthcare sector.


Written by ČTK Published on 14.11.2022 10:13:00 (updated on 14.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Brno, Nov. 13 (ČTK) - The Czech Medical Chamber (CLK) is warning of a potential decline in the access to and quality of medical care following a Health Ministry directive defining healthcare prices for 2023. The ministry's directive guarantees an 8-percent increase in health insurers' payments to care providers; the CLK had sought a 13-percent increase.

The chamber also proposed that lawmakers raise patients' fees for visiting the emergency room. The current fee of CZK 90 is no longer sufficient, the CLK said in a resolution passed at the close of its two-day national congress in Brno, the text of which was released to ČTK by CLK spokesman Michal Sojka.

The CLK expressed strong dissatisfaction with the ministry's cost directive for 2023. It said that the directive fails to cover healthcare providers' increased costs brought on by the high inflation rate, and doesn't sufficiently increase medical workers' wages.

"The CLK emphasizes that, unlike other business entities, healthcare providers cannot reflect their increased costs in the prices of their services, since the coverage of the prices by health insurers has been defined by the Health Ministry with its directive," the chamber wrote in its resolution.

The CLK warned that the directive would not only lead to the possible destabilization of the economy and personnel in healthcare facilities, but mainly to a decline in the accessibility and quality of healthcare in the Czech Republic.

The Health Ministry, led by Health Minister Vlastimil Válek, and Prime Minister Petr Fiala, previously said that the 8-percent year-on-year increase in healthcare price coverage is the maximum possible.

"The increase by 8 percent corresponds to the expected inflation in is the maximum the state budget can afford," Fiala told ČTK in October.

In its resolution, the CLK said medical personnel kept society and the economy going amid the Covid-19 epidemic. "The fact that it's the health sector that the government wants to save money on most of all is a shame and also a serious political mistake, given the security situation," the resolution said.

The chamber's resolution also highlights what it calls a critical shortage of court-certified forensic experts in the medical field. It proposes changes in the conditions of these experts' work that would give all university hospitals the authority to carry out court-certified work, on demands that payment of these experts be doubled at least.

The CLK also wants the Ministry of Health to strengthen legislation enabling it to carry out equipment inspections of healthcare providers. "Inspections carried out by an independent professional self-government, which has the necessary professional background, will contribute to increasing the safety and quality of medical care," said the chamber.

In its resolution, the CLK also expressed worry at the growing aggression toward medical workers on the part of some patients and their relatives.

"The CLK demands a higher level of legal protection for medical workers who have increasingly become the target of attacks on the part of some patients or their relatives," the resolution wrote.

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