HEALTHCARE INSURANCE FUND TO ALLOCATE ANOTHER BGN100MN TO HOSPITALS
The National Healthcare Insurance Fund (NHIF) will use its entire operating reserve of BGN75MN to compensate the over-expenditures of hospitals, the Management Board has decided. In order to cover the entire deficit in the healthcare establishments sector, BGN25MN from the over-fulfilment of NHIF's proceeds from healthcare insurance instalments will be added to the funds from the reserve. From the beginning of the year till July 31, 2004, the NHIF remitted BGN190MN to healthcare establishments, up BGN35MN from the amount project in the financial plan. The money allocated by the NHIF for payment of medical aid are expected to reach BGN350MN by the end of 2004. The NHIF spent BGN505MN for treatment of healthcare insured patients from the beginning of the year till July 31, 2004. The 2005 draft budget projects BGN871MN for the NHIF, its Director Ivan Bukarev specified. BGN850MN of that amount will come from healthcare insurance instalments, remitted to the National Social Insurance Institute (NSII) and proceeds from interest on the money deposited in the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) will total BGN13MN. Another BGN8MN is expected from fines, imposed on the executors of medical aid. BGN107MN has been earmarked for remuneration to general practitioners in 2005 and the same amount has been projected for the doctors who are specialists. The budget for dental aid is BGN57.8MN and BGN50MN has been projected for medical diagnostics laboratories. BGN5MN has been earmarked for NHIF's capital expenses next year. They will be mainly used for purchase of new computers and upgrading of software. NHIF's management intends to raise the prices it pays to hospitals for their services. The size of the increase will be specified at the meeting of its Management Board, scheduled for September 20. Control over the spending of funds will be effected according to a new methodology, the Ministry of Healthcare and the NHIF announced. Inspections in the medical establishments will be carried out by joint commissions of representatives from the two institutions. We are introducing a new system for financial control and for protection of the public interest and the patients' rights, Deputy Healthcare Minister Prof. Oleg Hinkov commented. The quality of medical services in hospitals will be controlled along the entire chain of treatment of each patient - from the GP, through the specialists in pre-hospital aid, and in medical establishments. Patients who have filed complaints will be informed about the findings of the controlling authorities.