A health insurer agreed on new deal over blood tests

A little boy could not have his blood taken due to a missing contract. The insurer meanwhile agreed on a new deal.

The old contract between the VšZP state health insurer and the Medirex company, carrying out blood tests, expired on June 1, 2019. The new one has not been signed.The old contract between the VšZP state health insurer and the Medirex company, carrying out blood tests, expired on June 1, 2019. The new one has not been signed. (Source: Sme)

The recent conflict related to diagnostic blood tests between the state-run insurer Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) and the Medirex company, one of the biggest firms in the field of laboratory diagnostics in Slovakia, is already creating problems for patients.

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Most recently, the parents of the two-year-old Filip, who often gets ill, had to wait a long time for his health to stabilise and a blood test. The parents were shocked on June 3 when their pediatrician, Marta Grmanová, told them that she could not draw their son's blood because VšZP had not had a new contract with Medirex since June 1, 2019, the Sme daily reported.

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Read also: Košice hospital patient died after the wrong transfusion Read more 

“I consider the fact that they cannot take the blood of a two-year-old child unbelievable in the 21st century in a modern country of the European Union,” Rastislav Urda, the father of little Filip, told Sme.

Shortly after the media drew attention to the case, VšZP and Medirex have come to a compromise in the form of a new one-year contract as well as a three-month period, during which the issue should be eventually resolved.

Problems with the price

The reason why VšZP did not want to sign the new contract was that Medirex was asking for too much money for blood diagnostics, its spokesperson Jana Martanovičová explained to Sme.

Read also: €90 million more will go towards health care Read more 

However, Medirex has claimed the opposite, adding they are just demanding the reimbursement of performances which they actually carry out, chair of the Medirex board Jozef Gavlas said, as reported by the TASR newswire.

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“The only solution is to finance the whole system,” he added, as quoted by TASR.

A new contract does not resolve the problem

Health Minister Andrea Kalavská (Smer nominee) plans to set up a state joint stock company to carry out laboratory diagnoses to avoid further problems, Sme reported.

Read also: UPDATED: Doctors in Nitra performed surgery on the wrong knee Read more 

“If everything goes well, it should be open by the end of this year,” she said, as quoted by TASR. The current situation is a failure of the state health insurer, Kalavská added.

VšZP head Ľubica Hlinková has refuted Kalavská’s claim, saying that the state health insurer cannot sign a contract for which it does not have money.

“I think we are the insurance company that has resisted any extortion and pressure from each side,” Hlinková said, as quoted by TASR.

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