The Ministry of Health has prepared a draft of Decree to amend the emergency medical service. Since October, every car should have a defibrillator with ECG monitoring of the heart and all ambulances should be equipped with new drugs. The operator will communicate with ambulance vehicle via Internet. By clicking on tablet ambulance can indicates the position and status whether ambulance is in the field or on the way to the hospital, or free. Mandatory equipment of ambulances should for example be equipment used by health insurance companies for records of patient data. Companies that operate rescue stations have not yet expressed caution. They appreciate this proposal as it will help to improve first aid; however, this amendment will increase their costs.
Government of Slovak Republic has again discussed the creation of one state-owned health insurance company. Information about the fulfilling of the timetable of its implementing, does not state when the Ministry of Health Care could introduce the transformation law. The law which should have already been in force since May has not even been officially introduced by the ministry. When this will happen is not certain. According to the minister of health care Zuzana Zvolenská the law is ready, however, the date of proposing it is not determined yet because first it is necessary to resolve the question if financing. The tender for an advisor has not been announced yet as well. It should have already been finished until April. Ministry has already introduced its conditions and it should be announced after the disclosure of the law.
German court did not prove right the Slovak opinion when it confirmed that the arbitrage court did not have the competence. Up till now it is in force that government has to pay for the damage stemming from the prohibition of paying out the profit of private insurance companies from the times of first Fico’s government. The highest court of Germany will not deal with the request of Slovakia about judging the competency of arbitrage court which decided about the reimbursement of the owner of private insurance company Union. Hence Slovakia is one step closer to paying 22 million euros as the damages and 3 million for the court costs to the owner of insurance company, Dutch corporation Achmea. According to the decision both sides now have one month to make a statement about it.
Slovakia has from now a new broader list of diseases. The amendment of the Act on health care entered into force that spread the present. The modification of the list was the needed for the introduction of a new way of rewarding hospitals – DRG system. The legal standard also regulates the medical terminology according to current standards and practices. The amendment was pushed by Richard Raši of Smer-SD. He pointed out that in Slovakia was no revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) since 1993. Since 2011 ran the preparation of revision of current version and expansion of new diagnoses or groups of diagnoses. Preparation of introducing a new way of rewarding hospitals is not under the original plan, the introduction is expected in 2016.
Hospital physicians’ salaries will absolutely rise. President Ivan Gasparovič signed an amendment to the Health Insurance Act. According to it, a doctor with specialization will from January 2013 earn 2.3 times the average wage, doctor without specialization about 1.25 times the average wage. Overall, increasing will cost more than 30 million per year. Hospital, however, do not have needed sources and most of them are in indebted. Ministry of Health rejects additional subsidization. The same amendment also introduces a new product in the reimbursement of health care abroad - patients no longer need approval from their insurance company before planned outpatient procedure.
New amendment on Law on the protection of non-smokers is entering into force. At first, amendment allowed total ban on smoking in shopping malls, parliamentarians, however, disagreed with it. Smoking in malls thus do not stops, but it will be allowed only in areas separate by construction. The legal standard also brings a new definition of mass caterers. According to amendment is it each device, which not only produces and prepares foods, but the food is also brought into it. So, rules to protect non-smokers are also related to the confectioneries. The amendment introduced also stricter penalties. For violations of the law will be public health authorities able to impose a fine of 500 to 15.000 euros.
Trend of childless couples, like in many other countries all over Europe, is increasing in Slovakia. From year to year is accumulating more and more couples who have trouble with conceiving. Once and for most of them the only way to become a parent is assisted reproduction treatment. This paper tends to present current legal framework and analyze health and financial policy on infertility care in Slovakia which can be used in future policy and decision making process.
Slovak Medical Chamber do not like the proposed legislative changes which tighten the integrity of health workers and bring the threat of prison, fines or loss of licence for those who during the state of emergency will not come to work. The proposed changes considered the chamber as unjustifiable interference with the fundamental rights of health workers to practice their profession. The head of the Slovak Medical Chamber Marian Kollar said that the parliamentary proposal to revise the Criminal Code is not intended to ensure the performance of work during the crisis, but is only "a baton for health professionals“. Chairman of Medical Trade Unions Peter Visolajský argues that laws containing the threat of imprisonment, fines and loss of licence are only the impetus for doctors to go abroad, what can harm the patients. Spokeswoman of Ministry of Health said that there is no criminalization of doctors, but if doctor during the crisis intentionally harm the patient, he must take the appropriate sanctions.
According to analyses of Transparency International Slovakia (TIS), Ministry of Health decides which drugs will be covered by health insurance not always in accordance with applicable regulations. TIS analysis points out that half of the applications for new drugs in the past year have not been settled up within the statutory period of six months; the ministry generally lacked expert opinions, and never once was assessing the cost-effectiveness and impact on public finances, despite the fact that the law requires it. Health insurance companies paid annually on drugs 850 million euros, what represents about a third of the total cost on health care from public sources. The analysis examined the categorization of drugs for about one year.
Prime Minister Robert Fico admitted that one insurance company does not have to be in January 2014, as the government planned. Minister Zuzana Zvolenska says that the planned date of one insurance company is still real. The plan of project is written that from May will be valid a new Act of transformation and by the end of this month will be finished the public procurement on advisor for the project. However, Ministry has not started the selection procedure and has not introduced the proposal of new law. Approval of new Act takes about three to four months. Ministry of Health Zuzana Zvolenska promised that this deadline will not be shortened. Submission of an Act of transformation and public procurement on advisor to the Ministry is expected in the coming days. When exactly it will be Ministry did not say.