The Slovenia Times

ZZZS urges politicians to "unfreeze" EUR 35m in health funds


The government's macro-economic think-thank IMAD has forecast the ZZZS would get more funds this year than planned, which is coming true, said ZZZS director general Marjan Sušelj.

"If the trend continues, the ZZZS will have EUR 35m more at its disposal this year than was expected," he said at a news conference in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

However, it will not be able to use the extra money if parliament does not change the decree which sets the upper limit to the ZZZS's expenses for 2018.

"Unfortunately, we're in a situation when we have the money, but cannot spend it, which is bad for patients," he said, adding the funds could be used for cutting waiting times.

Doing away with waiting lines altogether is estimated to cost slightly more than EUR 100m, so EUR 35m is a third of the sum and would significantly help reduce waiting lines where they are the most pressing, said Sušelj.

The ZZZS's management board and the assembly had urged the government to change the decree before, but were told the government would decide on it on the basis of the ZZZS's half-year business report and IMAD's autumn forecast, according to management board chairman Tatjana Čerin.

But Sušelj noted the report would not be available before 8 August, while IMAD is expected to release its next forecast at the end of September. This could well mean the money could not be spent this year at all.

Čerin and Sušelj also highlighted some "urgent measures" that should be taken by the new government to improve the national health policy.

The state should earmark more funds for healthcare from the national budget, and part of the money raised with levies on alcohol and tobaccos should also be channelled into healthcare.

The network of providers of medical services, which was conceived 50 years ago and is thus outdated, should be modernised, they believe.

A reform of health insurance contributions is needed to make them more fairly distributed, and workers should be disburdened as recommended by the OECD, said Čerin.

New legislation should be passed to give the ZZZS more powers in the health policy when it comes to setting and supervising prices.

Increasing spending on sick leave is another issue the government should deal with.

Sušelj said that while the ZZZS spent EUR 252.5m on sick leave payments in 2014, the sum this year will be EUR 113m higher, so he called for systemic solutions.

"The new government coalition will not have an easy situation to deal with. And we would not like it to be tackled partially, but as comprehensively as possible."

He also welcomed an initiative to rise mandatory health insurance funds from the draft coalition agreement complied by the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ).

However, this funds should also be secured not jut promised. He also said it was unclear how the new coalition would go about top up health insurance.

Sušelj hopes the new government will continue efforts to make indebted hospitals more efficient.


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