The hospital chain act came into force on May 4
In line with the amendment of the Act on Publicly Funded Healthcare Benefits, a system of hospital assurance of healthcare benefits, the so-called hospital chain, has been established.
Institutions within the chain will be divided into several levels of the assurance system. The first level are mainly county (poviat) hospitals, the second – above-county institutions and the third – voivodeship hospitals. Other levels are: pediatric, statewide, oncologic and pulmonologic hospitals.
The first lists of hospitals qualified to the new system will be published on June 27. The chiefs of voivodeship NFZs (National Health Funds) will have time to supplement them by September 29. The lists will include hospitals established through mergers of at least two institutions. The lists will come into force on October 1, 2017 and will remain valid for the subsequent four years, during which time they should not be amended. However, it has already been announced, that if a hospital chain providers more benefits – it will not be reimbursed for them. If an inspection, however, demonstrates that a hospital provides less benefits – its financing may be reduced. We have also found out that the lump sum will be calculated based on 2015 and the payments actually paid for that year (contract + overspending) – if any had been paid e.g. based on settlements with the National Health Fund. In Silesian Voivodeship, for instance, 72 hospitals out of 141 presently operating, will be included in the chain. Bills and invoices not paid by Silesian hospitals currently amount to an excess of PLN 240 million.
Approx. 93% of the funds presently spent on hospital treatment will be allocated to the functioning of this system. The remaining 7 percent will be allocated to benefit contests, in which both institutions that did not qualify to chains and chain hospitals wishing to obtain financing e.g. for the operation of additional wards, can participate.
The future of Polish hospitals was also one of the main topics of the IX European Economic Congress held on May 10-12 in Katowice. The chairman of the Union of Clinical Hospitals – Jan Telega noticed that although clinical hospitals have solid financing via the chain, they incur higher operational costs connected to, among other things, student or post-graduate training.