GENERAL PRACTITIONERS REFUSE THE SUCCESSIVE BOON
The general practitioners (GPs) are massively refusing to take advantage of the pay-free computers, which the National Healthcare Insurance Fund (NHIF) promised to give them as of November. In addition to computers, they have to recieve modems, printers, reading devices for smart-cards, and stadrad software for the entire system.We expected a greater interest on the part of our colleagues to the new equipment, but the GPs are not in a hurry to apply for it due to the high and difficult to fulfill requirement, set by the NHIF, Dr. Andrey Kehayov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Doctors' Union, commented.A main obstacle is the requirement that the equipment should be submitted to the GPs on the grounds of a closed contract for rent of belongings with the directors of the respective regional healthcare insurance fund. The equipment shall be handed over against a signed protocol, enclosed with the contract. But prior signing the protocol, the GPs should have insured their computers for a period of at elast six months. But how can an insurance police be issued for something you do not own? Another, even queerer requirement demands from the doctors to pay the difference between paid insurance (in the event of insurance circumstances) and the real cost, although they neither own the equipment, nor the insurnace policy is in their favour. Among NHIF's requirements is the one that the computer hardware and software would be sumbitted to the GP for the term of his contract with the fund, and the equipment is to be returned within 15 days upon the contract's termination.Moreover, the NHIF won't close the National Framework Agreement for 2003 by end-December 2003, and without it we cannot furnish our consulting rooms, the GPs from Sofia are unanimous. The 4,100 computers, printesr and modems, offered to the GPs by the NHIF, are worth a total of USD5.7MN, and the reading devices for smart-cards are worth EUR834,000. The tender for the delivery of the entire equipment was held in August 2001 and was won by the companies ProSoft and Contrax.The funds were ensured back in end-2000 by the PHARE Programme under the Reform in the Healthcare Sector project. Initially, however, the NHIF wan not willing to undertake to deal with the equipment. Therefore, the money was not utilized for a whole year and was on accounts of the Healthcare Ministry, Dr. Dimitar Ignatov, MP from the UDF said in front of the BANKER weekly. Dr. Ignatov was chairman of the Bulgarian Doctors' Union for six years and was one of the people, responisble for the project's implementation. He recalled that at that time the idea was to sell the computers to the GPs with leasing contracts with no interest, but the incumbernt Healthcare Minister Bozhidar Finkov and the Managemnet Board of the NHIF insisted insisted that the equipment should be given pay-free. It's only logical that the doctors shall not want to pay insurance polices and undertake financial responsibility for something they don't own, but only temporarily. The NHIF's requirement for payment of insurance is its successive attempt at a financial trick at the expense of the reform in healthcare, Dr. Ignatov commented.