“Happy Autumn with Good Health” – Greece’s Insured Patients Have to Pay for Medicine and Visits to Doctors

Posted by in Economy, Society

“Happy Autumn with Good Health” This should be the wish exchange among Greeks, as September begins with troubles for the already troubled and austerity-hit patients. As if income decreases weren’t enough, now insured patients will have to pay from their own pockets for prescription medicine and visits to doctors. Pharmacists and assigned private doctors protest payment delays by the country’s National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).  And the patients became prey between health workers forgetting their Hippocratic Oath and a bankrupt state.

As of today, September 1st, pharmacists cut credits to insured patients. The patient will have to pay for prescription medicine and request the amount from his insurance fund. The money is not expected to be redeemed before two or three months later. A nightmare for chronic-ill and low-income pensioners.

As of Monday, September 3rd, private doctors in cooperation with EOPYY will charge up to 20 euros per visit to insured patients, who will again will have to request the money from EOPYY.

While the doctors’ protest apparently will last until Friday (Sept 7/2012), it is not clear, how long the pharmacists will keep asking cash from the patients.

Getting Rid of The Greek Patient

No wonder, thousands of patients literally rushed to doctors and pharmacies during the last two days in order to prevent their health care big bang.

According to Greek media, data showed that 270,000 electronic prescriptions were issued by doctors during last Tuesday alone, while pharmacists delivered medicine for 320,000 prescriptions.

Thursday’s peak occurred between 10 am and 11 am with 1,250 electronic prescriptions to be filed per minute.

Unable to efficiently cope with the issue and the outstanding debts to doctors and pharmacists, EOPYY sent the message, that it will stop the cooperation with doctors who ask money from insured patients and that it will preferentially pay first those pharmacists who do not refuse prescription medicine on credit.

Athens Medical Doctors Association warns that things will get worse, claiming that “it is clear, EOPYY will stop paying its debts within  autumn 2012.”

It is the third time in less than a year that pharmacists stop giving prescription medicine on credit. For a chronic-ill patient, it means  250-300 euro per month from the own pocket. Cancer patients wish, they were born in another country.

Who cares? I guess, nobody…