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State hospitals continue running up new debts

The indebtedness of Slovakia’s state-run hospitals is continuing to grow. Eva Slováková of the Health Ministry's Communication Department said that the debt of healthcare facilities under the ministry's jurisdiction reached Sk5.984 billion (€198.6 million) as of May 31, 2008. By the end of last year, the debts of these facilities were around Sk5.842 billion (€193.9 million). In the first five months of this year, therefore, the debt of state hospitals deepened by almost Sk150 million (€4.979 million). The Health Ministry declined to comment on the indebtedness of non state-run hospitals.

The indebtedness of Slovakia’s state-run hospitals is continuing to grow. Eva Slováková of the Health Ministry's Communication Department said that the debt of healthcare facilities under the ministry's jurisdiction reached Sk5.984 billion (€198.6 million) as of May 31, 2008. By the end of last year, the debts of these facilities were around Sk5.842 billion (€193.9 million). In the first five months of this year, therefore, the debt of state hospitals deepened by almost Sk150 million (€4.979 million). The Health Ministry declined to comment on the indebtedness of non state-run hospitals.

However, analysts said state hospitals' may be even more in debt. According to estimates by the Health Policy Institute (HPI), the debts may amount to Sk6.3 billion (€209.1 million) as of May 31, over Sk300 million more than the Health Ministry figure. The institute estimates that the aggregate debt of the sector, including hospitals which have undergone transformation and public health insurers, is now almost Sk9 billion (€298.7 million). The Health Ministry has dismissed the HPI’s data as a “gross distortion of the facts” and a “populist move”.

The aggregate debt of the health sector amounted to Sk8.074 billion (€268 million) in late 2007. In 2006, it was Sk6.821 billion (€226.4 million), an increase of Sk1.253 billion (€41.59 million). Former health minister Ivan Valentovič ascribed the deepening debt to the growth in the wages of the sector's employees. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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