Municipal Hospitals are Planning New Protests
Municipal hospitals have warned that new protests are possible, as there are no moves to date on requests made to the authorities a month ago. According to the chairman of the National Association of municipal hospitals Dr. Nedelcho Totev authorities attempt to justify bad policy to municipal health concepts as "restructuring" and "bad management", while there are no steps to raise prices medical treatment and improving medical standards.
In mid-January workers in municipal hospitals in more than 20 cities have come up with symbolic protests against their difficult financial condition. They called for the improving of the medical standards, the increase of the value of the clinical paths on which they work, an additional subsidy of BGN 30 million, which would be rehabilitated and paid for over-the-last activity for the last two years. In response, health authorities have committed to rising prices on some paths in negotiations between the Health Fund and the Doctors' Union for a new framework contract, a change in medical standards. There was a promise to look for an opportunity to raise the subsidy of nearly BGN 30 million, which the Ministry of Health pays annually to the municipal hospitals for activities such as emergency care, assistance in difficult accessible and remote areas, medical expertise and others. However, the health ministry has insisted on restructuring some municipal hospitals in medical centers, while healthcare institutions reject this option.
According to Totev, however, there are currently no indications that the prices of the clinical paths in question will be updated. The association also does not see any concessions in several recently updated medical standards published in recent days. Dr. Stoicho Katsarov, the chairman of the Center for Protection of Rights in Healthcare, commented on Tuesday that municipal hospitals have been deliberately killed in recent years and "today we are getting closer to the end of municipal healthcare." He pointed out that the destruction of the municipal hospitals is carried out through three "instruments" - through the imposed hospital limits, the national health card and the medical standards. In his words, municipal hospitals are discriminated against state and mixed-property owners.
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