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Ministry to help hospitals pay off debts

SLOVAK health-care facilities which are drowning in debts will be eligible to seek repayable financial help, the Health Ministry announced in early February. The government grants, meant exclusively for paying off debts, will have a term of 15 years, with a two year grace period before repayment begins, the SITA newswire reported.

SLOVAK health-care facilities which are drowning in debts will be eligible to seek repayable financial help, the Health Ministry announced in early February. The government grants, meant exclusively for paying off debts, will have a term of 15 years, with a two year grace period before repayment begins, the SITA newswire reported.

Those entitled to apply for the grant money are health-care facilities under the Ministries of Health and Defence, hospitals which had been transferred to cities and regional governments as well as hospitals that were transformed into non-profit organisations.

In order to receive a grant, a hospital must prepare a business plan and provide it to the Health Ministry by June 30, 2009. The business plan must show evidence that the facility will be able to repay the financial grant back to the state. Each business plan will be evaluated by the Health Ministry in cooperation with the Finance Ministry before the end of September, SITA wrote.

The Health Ministry does not expect the financial grants to be transferred to the successful applicants this year, the ministry’s spokeswoman Zuzana Čižmáriková told SITA.

The concept of paying off the debts of the health-care facilities was approved by the government in December 2008. The concept has two main parts: these one-shot financial grants to help remove accumulated debts and introduction of proper tools to prevent the facilities from acquiring future debts.

The overall debts in health-care facilities amounted to €268 million at the end of 2007; a year before it was €226 million. The largest part of these debts at the end of 2007, almost €194 million, was in health-care facilities operating under the Health Ministry.

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