Threat of patient payments averted – for now

State-run health insurer and association representing outpatient departments say they will continue to seek a deal.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SITA)

People with health insurance from state-run health insurer Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa (VšZP) will not have to pay for non-emergency medical care from April 1, it has been announced.

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They had been facing having to pay for medical treatment other than urgent care in outpatient departments and surgeries after VšZP and the Association of Outpatient Providers (ZAP) – an umbrella organisation for 1,700 outpatient departments and surgeries in Slovakia - failed to reach a deal on financing health care.

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Outpatient departments and surgeries had been demanding more money for patient treatment and without a deal patients would have had to pay for medical care provided by their general practitioner, eye specialist or paediatrician from April 1, unless they had required urgent treatment.

Urgent treatment includes situations where one’s health condition worsens rapidly to the point that basic life functions are threatened, such as birth or an examination; the diagnostics and treatment of a person considered to be the source of a rapidly spreading and life-threatening disease, according to the law.

But with March drawing to close, ZAP and VšZP have now agreed that they will try to reach a deal in the coming days and VšZP has said its clients will not face any changes in financing of their healthcare on April 1, as reported by the SITA newswire.

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On the contrary, the doctors associated in the Alliance of General Practitioners (AVLS) were successful in making a deal with VšZP, valid until the end of 2022. This means that their patients will not have to pay for provided treatment.

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Patients will learn about whether they will pay only after visiting the outpatient department or surgery. Every doctor needs to have the list of health insurers with which they have signed an agreement by their door.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský (OĽaNO nominee) said he planned to meet with the VšZP head Richard Strapko to discuss the situation, the TASR newswire reported. The outcome of this meeting is not known.

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