Key health reform bill shelved
A bill on the digitalisation of healthcare, put forward by the government in June as the first part of a planned health reform package, has been scrapped to be drafted anew under the watch of the new health minister.
The bill that was set to take effect on 1 January 2024 and aimed to introduce digital transparency in healthcare was drafted under the previous Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan, who resigned in July.
It envisaged that public healthcare providers feed all medical data into a single IT system, managed, maintained and developed by a state-owned company.
The bill would provide not only for the establishment of individual bases of private data, but also for connecting these data bases, bringing them together in a single central healthcare IT system.
Moreover, the private data in the IT system would also be linked to basic medical charts kept by individual healthcare providers.
A number of stakeholders objected to the provisions and the parliamentary legal service and the Information Commissioner raised issue with virtually all articles in the bill, including concerns with respect to invasion of privacy.
After the bill passed the first reading on the committee, the ruling coalition postponed debate on further reading to allow more time to draft amendments in response to the concerns raised.
Now, that the bill finally came up on the agenda on 4 October, the coalition voted it down, effectively throwing it out.
The bill had been expected to be shelved after Bešič Loredan resigned. After Valentina Prevolnik Rupel was nominated to succeed him on 3 October she said the Health Ministry was revising the proposed legislation.
The ministry believes the bill needs some conceptual changes, and amending it in the National Assembly would be difficult given the number of comments and proposals, since they change the interpretation of the bill, Health Ministry State Secretary Marjan Pintar told the committee.
He said the ministry was drafting a new bill, in which the concerns of the Information Commissioner, the parliamentary legal service, health service providers, the public health insurance fund and other stakeholders will be addressed.
Pintar said a new bill could be submitted for parliamentary procedure before the end of the year.