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Health insurer to cut hospital beds

THE STATE-OWNED health insurer, Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP), has announced it is seeking to reduce the number of beds in the health-care system by 15 percent and to do so it has decided not to renew contracts with 156 wards in Slovak hospitals beginning in July 2011.

THE STATE-OWNED health insurer, Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP), has announced it is seeking to reduce the number of beds in the health-care system by 15 percent and to do so it has decided not to renew contracts with 156 wards in Slovak hospitals beginning in July 2011.

The insurer’s master plan calls for just over 29,000 beds in the entire hospital network while this current action will leave the system with some 31,000 beds, the SITA newswire reported.

The changes will affect all kinds of hospitals throughout Slovakia but will most radically affect hospital wards dealing with ear, nose and throat maladies. The loss of overnight beds will be partly offset by transferring some patients to one-day health-care centres and handling more medical treatment on an outpatient basis.

Complex or expensive treatments are to be transferred to specialised centres under the insurer’s plan and university hospitals will be expected to merge more wards and clinics. SITA wrote that Dôvera, a private health insurer, supports the restructuring plan proposed by VšZP.

The director of Dôvera’s purchasing section, Miroslav Žilinek, stated that the proposed changes are “an inevitable step towards increasing the quality and effectiveness of health care and improving conditions for health-care workers in Slovakia”. If VšZP’s published plan is fully implemented, Žilinek said patients insured by Dôvera will have less dramatic changes to deal with than VšZP policyholders since Dôvera had previously reduced its eligible wards.

The Slovak Association of Hospitals has criticised the plan, saying the reduction of beds will leave Slovakia with a lower total than the EU median.


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