Tough Times for Greek Patients as Doctors, Pharmacists Plan Boycotts – Again!

Posted by in Economy, Society

 The situation is getting out of control here. Greece seems unable to pay its obligations to personnel and suppliers in the health care, doctors and pharmacists are getting ready to boycott patients’ access to health care. Private doctors want to suspend their work contracts with Greece’s National Organization for Health Care Provision (EOPYY), pharmacists to stop giving prescription medicine on credit.

EOPYY, an umbrella for several insurance funds established 1.5 year ago is at risk to collapse. High unemployment has led to decrease of insurers contribution, the Greek Bond Swap (PSI) decreased funds assets at 53 percent.

On Wednesday, the Union of EOPYY doctors called on the Health Ministry to pay by Aug. 20 all money owed to EOPYY doctors for the first half of 2012 and to provide a written timetable for the repayment of previous debts to the entire medical profession.

Failure to fulfil this requirement will result in doctors suspending the terms of their work contracts until at least Sept. 2 when they will examine any developments, the union said  adding that EOPYY has debts of  1.5 billion euro.

“EOPYY hasn’t paid its doctors for performing medical procedures since the beginning of 2012 nor for medical visits since March, which corresponds to 230 million euros, while the organization owes the entire medical profession 570 million euros for 2011 and 2010, according to the statement. These debts may no longer be manageable, the union said. “

Almost parallel, pharmacists union decided to stop giving prescription medicine on credit as of September 1, if the Health Ministry does not pay its debts.

“We have been paid for part of prescription medicine for the month of May, there is no timetable for payments of June. Pharmaceutical multinationals and suppliers have cut credits to pharmacies.  Pharmacists bleed between lack of credit and EOPYY payment delays,” the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association said in a statement.

Furthermore, the pharmacists demand to be paid for outstanding EOPYY debts from 2011. According to pharmacists, EOPYY owes them 207 million euro from May prescriptions (90 million euro were paid to them two days ago) and 145 million euro from June prescriptions.

Pharmacists associations in Crete, Magnisia and Evia decided to proceed to cutting credits to patients as of August 16th 2012.

The PPhA will meet again on August 25th to definitely decide on their mobilization.

When pharmacists cut credits, Greek patients have to pay medicine from their own pockets and request redeem from the insurance fund. A procedure full of troubles and bureaucracy, especially for the chronic ill and low-pensioners, who have to wait for several months to get their money back.

As for cancer patients and their expensive medication? Better, not to pose the question at all. 

*** BREAKING: EOPYY doctors decided to charge insured patients from Aug 20 to Sept 2, 2012.

At the same Greece’s lenders, the Troika, press for spending cuts totaling 1.2 billion euro in the health sector in general, and 800 million euro in EOPYY spending in particular. As the Greek government still stuggles to find spending cuts totaling 11.5 billion euro, without trimming down the public sector, the Ministries of Labour and Health are expected to carry the biggest burdens – same procedure as usual.

PS And if the Greek patient is not dead on Troika-time, he lives “happily” to see himself being pushed over the clip… Not ever after but as soon as possible.