Masseur Kostka closes his facilities

The owner of clinics that earned big money during the previous Smer governments also admits sending an email to the PM’s assistant.

Pavol KostkaPavol Kostka (Source: TASR)

After months of silence, masseur from Spiš region Pavol Kostka summoned a press conference on September 19, at which he commented on the case that involves high payments from the state-run health insurer and the steep increase in his clinics’ revenues during the rule of the previous government.

During the rule of the first Robert Fico government (2006-2010), the then main analyst of the state health insurer Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) Ivan Poprocký started a process which resulted in giving a unique code for various health treatments to Kostka’s clinics. Thanks to them Kostka was able to increase his revenues 10 times in two years, the Sme daily reported.

At the time the insurer was led by Zuzana Zvolenská, who later became health minister in the second Fico government. That makes the statement that Kostka received the code at the time the insurer was led by Marián Faktor, a nominee of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), a bit misleading, according to Sme.

“Please, do not accuse me of things we are not responsible for and I also ask you to publish that we cancelled this code for the clinics after the inspection,” Fico said before the March 2016 general election, as quoted by Sme.

Kostka now offers a more comprehensive version. After the initial analyses carried out by Poprocký, the VšZP claimed there is a possibility that the consumption of medicaments in Poprad and its surrounding may be caused also thanks to the treatment offered by Kostka’s clinics. This happened in 2009, at the time the insurer was led by Zvolenská.

Read also:Flaws of the private clinic confirmed Read more 

When she became minister in 2012, Poprocký was appointed head of the Institute of Health Policy running under the ministry. He left the post after Tomáš Drucker became minister in 2016.

As Poprocký’s analyses were the first signal that the treatment provided by the clinic may be “interesting”, the discussion over creating some mechanism of control started. The insurer then explained it is necessary to create a special code for the services, Kostka explained, as reported by Sme.

He received the code at the time VšZP was led by Faktor.

Trošková’s authorship unexplained

Kostka also admitted that after the media started reporting about the success of his clinics, he sent an email with his statement for media also to Fico’s assistant Mária Trošková. Yet he could not explain why Trošková was mentioned as the author of the document, Sme wrote.

Kostka, meanwhile, has started closing down his facilities. He already shut down five clinics, employing altogether 170 people, and kept only one located in Spišská Belá. It employs 20 people, the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported.

The cuts started after VšZP terminated an agreement with the clinics in July. The decision followed the inspection of the Health Care Surveillance Authority which revealed serious flaws in the contract, connected to using the special code, the daily reported.

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