BUSINESS IN SHORT

Hospitals to be joint-stock companies?

THE PRESCRIPTION offered by Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik for overcoming the massive debt in the health-care sector, which climbed to €200 million by the end of 2009, lies in turning state-owned hospitals into joint-stock companies, the TASR newswire wrote.

THE PRESCRIPTION offered by Health Minister Ivan Uhliarik for overcoming the massive debt in the health-care sector, which climbed to €200 million by the end of 2009, lies in turning state-owned hospitals into joint-stock companies, the TASR newswire wrote.

Uhliarik described the proposed measure as an opening gambit to stop state-run facilities from falling deeper into debt. He expects the debt would begin to drop next year as 'transformed' hospitals would not suffer losses and instead could even turn a profit.

The minister said the proposed change should not be perceived as a kind of hidden privatisation. A proposal on reorganising state hospitals into joint-stock companies has already been drawn up by the ministry.

Should it be approved by the government and the parliament, and signed into law by President Ivan Gašparovič, the transformation of hospitals should be completed by the end of 2011 at the latest, he said.

The debt of state-run healthcare facilities accounted for more than half of the public sector’s overall debt. It has been estimated that, in spite of a loan from the state in 2009, hospitals created fresh debts amounting to more than €50 million last year.


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