Croatian Health System Debt Up by HRK 550 million in 2017

Total Croatia News

If something about the way the Croatian health care system is financed doesn’t change at once, hospitals just might start closing their doors. The health care system in Croatia incurred an additional loss of 550 million kuna in the first eight months of this year, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on September 17, 2017.

Minister of Health Dr Milan Kujundžić confirmed the situation is pretty dire at the moment. “It’s true, the existing debt increased for another 550 million, and until we’re able to ‘pour in’ another three billion kuna annually into the system, things will remain as they are, year after year. With those additional three billion, the Croatian health care system would dispose of 26 billion kuna, an amount that would be sufficient to cover all the expenses”, stated Minister Kujundžić.

Everybody knows Croatian health care is a bottomless pit, but here’s one more factor that adds an absurd note to the situation: the more doctors in Croatia work and the more patients they see, the more damage they inflict to the hospitals they’re employed in.

Every hospital in Croatia has an annual contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) defining a monthly financial limit for the funding provided by HZZO. The Clinical Hospital Centre (KBC) Split disposes of 53 million kuna a month, but they don’t manage to cover all the expenses with the cited amount. At the end of 2016, KBC Split was left with additional 33.5 million kuna in expenses they couldn’t have charged HZZO with, as it exceeded the limit stipulated in the contract. The KBC Rijeka exceeded the limit by 51 million kuna, while the KBC Zagreb had additional expenses of 107 million kuna. Substantial amounts they will never be able to charge, as those funds weren’t agreed upon in the HZZO contracts, so the HZZO isn’t obliged to cover them.

At the same time, hospitals don’t have the right to turn patients away, but have to provide medical treatment for anyone who comes through the door. The way Croatian hospitals are operated isn’t in balance with the amount of funds available in the health care system. On one hand, patients are being told they have the right to all possible tests and services, and they are getting promised waiting lists will become considerably shorter in near future. And yet, every test and service provided leaves the hospitals drowning in expenses that are never getting reimbursed.


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