Negotiations of Minister of Health Ivan Uhliarik and representatives of the Association of Medical Emergency Services will continue. This is a result of their meeting. Minister and the Association believe that after all they will make an agreement and find the compromise. Both parties have a different view especially on the measure of profitability of emergency services. Ministry wants to reduce the profitability, but its ambition is to set up the system so that emergency medical service will be available and more effective.
Association of emergency medical services announced before today's meeting on the Ministry of Health that it is prepared to accept the compromise, which will mean a saving for ministry and insurance companies with minimized impact on patients and the operation of emergency service. Association has allegedly prepared a few suggestions, such as transformation of first aid stations and the change could be reportedly done in a short time. The result should be an immediate saving and reduction of number of doctors in the system.
About € 4.7 million less will be directed to the segment of emergency medical services. According to Ministry of Health this should contribute to the more efficient use of public health insurance sources. Saved funds should be used also in hospitals, which will need more resources to cover the wage funds in the frame of increasing of salaries of doctors. New price regulation should enter into force in February.
State-owned Emergency and transport medical service Bratislava is in high loss and its management is considering to end the provision of transport of patients without doctor and the termination of contracts with health insurance companies. This step may have impact on all citizens in Slovakia, as there are the top hospitals in Bratislava. If the company terminates contracts with health insurance companies, patients will have to pay full amounts for the transfers.
Ministry of Health does not refuse the dialogue with the representatives of emergency ambulances, which do not like the proposal or reducing of their payments. According to its spokeswoman MoH will carefully analyze each comment and considers the dialogue as benefit. Association of Emergency Medical Services called the ministry on Wednesday for the common negotiations, as well as the suspension of action until the meeting will take place. According to the Association the emergency ambulances would have to cut their cost and save, which may have negative impact on patients.
Ministry of Health submitted a proposal for reducing of payments for emergency service to find additional resources for increasing salaries of doctors in hospitals. To meet the expectations of doctors, ministry will need about € 35 million this year. Ministry is looking for resources in pharmaceutical policy but also in emergency services. Minister wants to adjust the price of care provided by emergency ambulances and the price per kilometer of ride of emergency service. It is expected that this could bring annual savings in amount of about € 4.7 million. Revenues of emergency ambulances would decrease by about 12%.
Ministry of Health is planning to decrease payments for emergency medical services from February. The representatives of providers of these services do not ruled out legal proceedings against Slovakia for damages. Association of Medical Emergency Service criticized, that two years after tendering for four-year license for operation of emergency service the reimbursement rules are changing. Association called on Minister Ivan Uhliarik to cancel the proposed price measures, as well as for joint discussion. Providers of emergency want to introduce Minister their own ideas about the possibilities of saving in this segment.
Association of Medical Emergency Service calls for Medical Trade Union, doctors and Ministry of Health to repeatedly consider the situation and reach a compromise agreement. According to the spokeswomen of association the pre-hospital emergency health care for citizens will be still provided even in the case if doctors will leave after December 1st, because doctors working for emergency health service did not resign. However, the activity of emergency service may be after December 1st endangered by the situation in hospitals, where the operation will be shut down. The time to transfer patients to overloaded hospitals will be extended and this can result in deterioration or threatening of patient's health.
Constitutional Court of Slovak Republic will have to deal with the emergency posts. Court will consider the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Act on Health Care Providers. Specifically, it will focus on the obligation of General Practitioner (for adults, and for children and adolescents) and Dentists to perform First Aid according to the schedule specified by self-governing region and the possibility of imposing penalties for breaching of this obligation up to € 3 319. System of emergency posts operation was in the past criticized by the Association of Private Doctors whose President welcomed the initiation of the proceeding. Ministry of Health under the leadership of Richard Raši also tried to solve this problem by approving of the change of financing.
Faculty Hospital in Žilina opened a new emergency post on Monday. According to daily SME, hospital received € 13 million from EU funds for its construction. For this amount the building was built, arranged and equipped with devices and, moreover, hospital purchased a linear accelerator for oncology. In the urgent part a small operating room, resuscitation room and expectancy beds are available. In the outpatient part are ambulances for internal medicine, trauma surgery, surgery and neurology. 25 nurses and 12 medical orderlies will work on the emergency post. There while will be 4 doctors in each service.