New law will not "Americanise" healthcare, doctors say

NEWS 10.05.2018 19:51
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Source: Ilustracija

Amendmends to the primary healthcare act will not lead to the “Americanisation” of Croatian public healthcare, and it will not result with the patients’ having to directly pay for health care, or the deepening of social differences, said the family doctors' association (KoHOM) on Thursday.

“The only thing the new law could result in, if the interest groups stop obstructing it, is the increase in young physicians’ interest to stay in the country and work in family medicine, a more functional general practice, and, finally, better healthcare for all,” the press release from KoHOM Executive board said.

KoHOM, an association of general practitioners, was founded in 2008 due to the increasing discontent with the quality of health protection in Croatia, and the current social and organisational position of general practitioners. It aims to contribute to the higher quality, availability and efficiency of healthcare in Croatia.

The Coordination said they were shocked by the amount of untruths, half-truths, and insinuations in the media since the amendments to the Healthcare Act were announced.

“Over the last years we have witnessed that, whenever there is an attempt to change something in Croatia, all kinds of interest groups surface and try to stop positive changes,” the press release said, adding that while those groups are fighting for their own particular interests, the young, capable people, including doctors, are leaving the country.

The biggest change suggested in the new act is the privatisation of primary healthcare. Under the current law, some 70 percent of general practices, gynaecology and pediatry practices are privatised (through concessions) with some 30 percent available in clinics. Under the new law, there would be no more concessions, but the practitioners would have to submit a request for approval of their practice directly to the Health Ministry. This amendment presents a problem for the more isolated communities, such as the islands, where there is often a shortage of doctors, and clinics are the only option available to the residents of such areas.