Government gives green light to hospital reform

On May 30, the government supported the reform of the hospital network launched by the Ministry of Health (VM), taking note of the VM report presented to the government.  A new, updated report has to be prepared by the ministry by mid-August, with detailed criteria for each hospital.

The reform of the hospital network developed by VM was presented to the government Tuesday under the slogan “money follows quality.” Hospitals will be required to have uniform requirements for the provision of services and quality indicators. The country would thus benefit from efficient use of resources, while the patient would get a high-quality service. If there was no quality, the hospital would be forbidden to provide the service.

Following discussions, the Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Hospital Association, Jevgēnijs Kalējs, reiterated that funding is needed to implement the reforms. The most worrying is the lack of funding already this year.

"When you, Mr. Kariņš, declared from the podium: friends, all is not well [a well-remembered Covid-time quote], what happened? All the hospitals, all the medics rushed to help. We cleared the area. We dealt with Covid. Now our side says – friends, all is not well. And you have to think about it. Tthink about this year's funding, because we have said that if it does not come, there will be charges for services."

"The Ministry of Health is proposing a reform to go towards a healthy and economically strong nation. In order to achieve this, we need to introduce a new health component – quality. It is our job to make the hospital network safe and accessible on a permanent basis. We need not only knowledgeable medics, medical technology, but also clear and uniform quality standards,” said Health Minister Līga Meņģelsone.

The main changes are related to quality criteria that will be further defined by the VM. The ministry will develop quality requirements and indicators, align them with hospitals and plan to agree with all parties on hospital levels and medical profiles by August 1.

On the other hand, tariffs and costs to finance new hospital levels should be clarified by August 30.

In Latvia, State-paid hospital health services are provided by 39 hospitals, of which 26 have services defined according to hospital levels, as well as 11 specialized hospitals and 2 other hospitals. As reported earlier by LTV's De Facto, the reforms could mean removing emergency care from several hospitals.

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