Compared to 2012, the number of suicides, according to the National Health Information Center (NHIC) increased by 57 to a total of 628 cases. The highest number was in 2008, when it was 631 people. Last year was also reported 972 suicide attempts. Overall, the number of intentional self-harm – suicides and attempt of suicides together – in 2013 raised to 1,600 cases, as compared to 2012 is an increase of 11 cases. In a long-term view, the choice of “voluntary” death is mainly elected by men. Last year it was 544 males and 84 females.
According to survey realized by private health insurance Dôvera between its 3,500 policyholders, patient satisfaction with inpatient hospital decreased year on year. Patients rated the hospitals like the schools, marks from one to five. Hospital services and medical care received an average mark of 1.7, last year it was 1.6. Became worse the teaching, general and specialized hospitals. According to director of Dôvera, there may be two explanations for the situation. Patients may be more exacting, and thus critical. At the same time the survey included more younger patients which tend to be more critical. Least satisfied people are with stay in teaching hospitals.
In Slovakia is currently in process 220 clinical trials for new drugs. According to health insurance companies, the most frequently clinical trials are on treatment of cardiovascular, oncology, pulmonary and gastroenterological diseases. The most common are studies that last for about two years. Age of participants for clinical trials is unlimited. Children were tested mainly on the vaccination, but also on medicines for hypertension, asthma, skin diseases or rare diseases as cystic fibrosis or sclerosis multiplex.
Slovaks will not have electronic insurance card from 2016. eHealth project is again postponed. According to new estimates should start in 2017. Ministry of Health cancels the tender for over 40 million euros excluding VAT on the software solution for the National Health Information System (NHIS), which is necessary for the computerization of healthcare. The tender was also attacked by the one of the unsuccessful candidates, so Public Procurement Office is solving the situation. The Ministry points out that given the time delay in the project the spending of EU funds might not be done. In this case, there is threat that all funds have to be returned.
Slovakia won one of the arbitrations with the owner of health insurance company Union, the Dutch company Achmea. Achmea has appealed to the arbitral tribunal due to Robert Fico´s Government intention to introduce a single insurance company. Achmea argued that it is a violation of international treaties for the protection of investments. The Dutch company tried to avert the following purchase or expropriation of private insurance companies by state. How much Achmea sued Slovakia for, it is clear. The amount should Achmea quantified in further proceedings. The Dutch company now has to pay costs in the amount of 340 thousand euros and legal costs of Slovakia. The Ministry of Finance quantified these costs to over one million euros.
Receipts from cash registers may have to be issued by the doctors either. Ministry of Finance hopes that this step can bring more money to the state budget. Currently, cash register in outpatient clinics has not to be used, although patients there pay in cash and the doctors should pay taxes of this cash. Doctors do not like this proposal. If this measure enters into force, doctors announced increasing of fees. Doctors now collect cash money from patients for acts that health insurance company does not pay them. Electronic cash register is not used, so patient just has a ticket of receipt. To check actual income of physicians is therefore not possible.
Slovak Medical Chamber proposed that an expensive nurse in the clinic could be replaced by cheaper medical assistant. Assistant has a high school, so has lower salary as a nurse with the university. Doctors, who are also owners of clinics, would like to choose who to employ. Today's legislation does not allow it. According to the legislation, in the office has to be a nurse. Slovak Medical Chamber lobbies for changes in Decree, which would allow general practitioner to choose who would like to employ in the office. According to Slovak Medical Chamber, instead of nurses could be in the office medical assistant, assistant or physician after graduation.
Medical facilities owed at the end of March to Social Insurance Agency in Slovakia over € 95.6 million. Since the beginning of the year, their claims increased by € 9.3 million. Claims of state-owed medical facilities reached 62.8 million euros. Only by month increased by almost 2.1 million euros. Debts of transformed medical facilities amount more than 32.8 million euros. Per month increased by € 643,000. The increase of receivables due to not paying monthly charges was recorded in 11 facilities. Social Insurance Agency registered a total of 22 monitored medical facilities with the claim. Of these, six are state-owned and 16 transformed healthcare facilities.
From Slovakia have been exported more than a million drug packages last year. It is only about a third of what distributors reported with the intention to export. As is apparent from the data of the State Institute for Drug Control (SIDC), distributors announced export of more than 3.1 million packages, however, actually went abroad 1.03 mil. SIDC last year issued 113 decisions on not to permit the export of 85,875 drug packages. It was 24 pharmaceuticals, which export could mean unavailability for Slovak patients. Changes in the export policy introduced an amendment to the Act on Drugs and Medical Devices last year. Export of medicines is since then monitored. Distributors must report to SIDC intention to export the drug.
Pharmaceutical companies spend annually around 40 million euros on the promotion and marketing. This money is used to sponsor doctors and pharmacists. The Ministry of Finance plans to tax these promotional activities. For example, if the company has paid doctors for participation in the Congress, than has to pay 19 per cent tax from the amount company spent on it. Companies and practitioners disagree with this tax. Currently, sponsorship is in the declaration of taxes listed by doctors. Ministry of Finance, however, seem suspicious amounts they admitted. Pharmaceutical companies have reported that they spent more than 41 million on the promotional activities, but doctors according to the Ministry taxed only tens of thousands of euros.