Health Minister Andreas Xanthos announced a legislation in order to facilitate the write off of uninsured patients’ debts to public hospitals and therefore to the tax office.
Speaking to Sto Kokkino FM, Xanthos said that there have been confirmed debts amounting 28,000,000 euros for treatment of uninsured patients until 2015. He added that the government “froze” additional debt of 150,000,000 euros that has not been transferred to the tax offices.
Uninsured patients who receive treatment in public hospitals can avoid the cost payment directly to the hospitals. However, hospitals forward the debts to the tax office.
Xanthos made it clear that uninsured patients can seek treatment at the public hospitals only with their ID card and the number of social security (AMKA). No other bureaucratic procedures are needed.
The minister said further that in the first five months of the year, medical tests total worth 23,000,000 euros and medication worth 60,000,000 euro were prescribed for 528.000 unique uninsured patients. Based on ‘income criteria’, 1/3 of these patients buys the medication without paying any contribution.
“This is a very important social service that did not exist before,” Xanthos stressed.
The economic crisis and the high unemployment left behind some 3,000,000 Greeks without social security.
The minister underlined that 9,000 people (doctors, nurse, administrative personnel) have been hired in the public health system since September 2015. Another 9,000 workers are expected to be hired in the near future.
Bailout programs and strict austerity measures have caused immense personnel shortages in the public health care system. Furthermore, many doctors have left the country due to ridiculous low salaries and exhausting working hours.