Tomáš Szalay, M.D. (*1971) is founding partner and executive director of Health Policy Institute. From 1996 to 2002 he was an editor and TV anchor of private TV channel Markíza. In 2002–2004 he was first spokesperson, then member of health reform team at the Slovak Ministry of Health. His domain of interest is health policy, access to health care and health care legislation.
Public health is supervised by the PHA, which concentrates predominantly on the monitoring of communicable diseases. The PHA organizes an immunization programme that is carried out by GPs and financed by health insurance companies.
People have free choice of their GP. There is also free choice of specialist for specialized care. If a service is not covered by SHI or the provider is not contracted, an individual may still receive reimbursement but only if the health insurance company gives prior authorization.
Hospitals in Slovakia are divided into general hospitals (including university hospitals) and specialized hospitals, depending on the services they offer. Hospitals also have an ambulatory component, in which hospital-based specialists provide specialized ambulatory care. Inpatient health care facilities include sanatoriums, hospices, day-care centres, natural healing spas and balneotherapy institutions. Mixed ownership of inpatient care providers is common, with the state owning a significant share.
Emergency medical services provide urgent care in sudden life-threatening situations. Emergency medical services are provided by a dense network of private and public providers operating in a total of 280 areas accessible to patients within 15 minutes of the emergency call (in 95% of Slovak territory).