STATE-RUN hospitals will have to pay off their mounting debts at their own expense, Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská told the press on May 7, adding that any help from the state may only be supplementary. A press conference was held to address a report on the indebtedness of health-care facilities in 2013, which is to be discussed by the government.

Altogether 13 teaching and university hospitals followed a financial stabilisation plan and managed to slow their rate of indebtedness last year. While in 2012 new debt stood at €82.1 million, last year it was only €80.3 million. The total loss of hospitals fell by €49 million, the report reads, as cited by the TASR newswire.

“I will introduce the material proudly to the government because I think that we all have done much work, including all hospital directors and all their employees,” Zvolenská said, as quoted by TASR.

The health minister added that she wants all state-run hospitals to stop accumulating new debt by the end of 2015 and thus create room for paying off their old debts.

Zvolenská denied the claim that the government would discuss the possible elimination of the hospitals’ debt. She wants to talk the issue over with the finance minister only after hospitals stop creating new debt. She expects hospitals to begin dealing with their debt on their own, as reported by TASR.

Viktor Očkay, general director of the department of financing at the ministry, added that the number of hospitals which are not accumulating more debt increased from one to four last year. The ministry hopes that this number will continue increasing, Očkay said, as reported by TASR.

The material authored by the Health Ministry also states that a more general problem for hospitals is that not enough of their expenses are being covered by the health insurers, and that hospitals also face hidden investment debt. This situation might improve if additional funds are allocated to the health-care sector, TASR wrote.

The total debt in the Slovak health-care sector increased to €318.9 million at the end of last year, mostly due to the debt of state-run medical facilities, which reached €246.8 million, up from €141.7 million in 2012.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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