SOME state-run hospitals paid more for electricity last year than they should have, according to an analysis by the ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), which surveyed nine of 10 hospitals with the highest number of public tenders. The organisation says that the facilities should be able to negotiate lower prices, the SITA newswire reported.

The University Hospital in Bratislava (UNB) and in Košice, as well as Banská Bystrica’s Roosevelt Hospital, are among those paying higher rates for electricity.

According to Andrej Lednár from Prvá Energetická company, UNB paid €12 more per 1 MWh last year than the Central-Slovak Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases, which had the most favourable electricity contract. The institute’s electricity consumption was one tenth lower than UNB. The difference between the payments came to €210,000 in 2013, the analysis reads, as reported by SITA.

UNB paid €59.6 per 1 MWh last year. It chose its supplier through non-public negotiations. According to TIS, since there was not an ordinary tender, it was harder to secure a lower price. It also says that the reason for the higher price was due to poor payment discipline on the part of the hospital.

UNB spokesperson Petra Stano Maťašovská responded that the hospital is paying less for electricity than in the past, despite its bad payment discipline. The price for electricity in 2014 will be €51.10 per 1 MWh, she added, as cited by SITA.

Stano Maťašovská also said that UNB’s current management negotiated savings worth €148,000 last year, and €105,000 for this year. Altogether, the hospital saved €1.32 billion on energy, she explained to SITA.

Hospitals that paid fair market prices for electricity included the Teaching Hospital in Nitra, the Central Military Hospital in Ružomberok, the National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases, the University Hospital in Martin and the abovementioned Central-Slovak Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases. The average price of electricity ranged from €47.4 to €54.3 per 1 MWh, SITA wrote.

The Health Ministry said in response to the analysis that each hospital has a different financial situation, which impacts its position when negotiating energy costs.

“It is the task of the managements of hospitals to optimise the cost and revenue structures of health-care facilities in order to reduce their commitments,” said ministry spokesperson Martina Lidinská, as quoted by TASR.

She added that when comparing the results of the 13 biggest hospitals during the first half of 2013 with first half of 2012, the situation improved and the cumulative loss of these facilities decreased from minus €42.5 million to minus €27.8 million. This is enough to enable hospitals to plan their required purchases in advance, as reported by SITA.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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