Personnel at private diagnostic laboratories launched a three-day strike on Thursday, May 26, and during this time they will not offer their services free of charge to patients insured at Greece’s national health insurance EOPYY.
The strike starts on Thursday, May 26 until Saturday, May 28, 2022.
Patients insured at EOPYY can still have their health tests during the strike days, they will only have to pay the 100% charge.
Doctors and staff at the private diagnostic centers proceeded with their strike, despite the warning by Health Minister Thanos Plevris that he will sanction them with the reduction of about 1.5 million euros for each day of strike, ie the cost of the examinations of the insured.
The strike is supported by the Medical Associations of the country.
The industry complains about the obligatory returns (clawback) imposed by EOPYY which together with the discounts given, the incomes are reduced even by 60%.
At the same time, however, there are the claims of EOPYY from previous years, money which they pay in installments every month.
As pointed out by the Coordinating Body of diagnostic laboratories and clinical laboratory doctors, the clawback in EOPYY was implemented by legislation in 2013, as a measure to contain costs and rationalize them, due to the special economic conditions Greece was experiencing at the time of the lenders’ bailout agreements.
Since then, no care has been taken in order to make a real assessment of the needs of the citizens and to finance EOPYY with the corresponding amount.
According to doctors and representatives of diagnostic laboratories, countless meetings have been held with the Minister of Health, who fully understands the financial suffocation caused by the clawback measure, but on the part of the Deputy Minister of Finance there is no willingness for additional funding.
According to daily ethnos, strikers at diagnostic laboratories and clinics request, among others:
- “Haircut” of the artificial debts imposed on them by EOPYY in the years 2013 – 2021,
- Reduction of the clawback with a maximum of 10% for 2022 and the goal of its complete elimination, in parallel with the implementation of structural measures (diagnostic and therapeutic protocols, real time control).
- If there is no extra funding for Primary Health Care, only the examinations that EOPYY can pay should be performed.
It should be noted that private laboratories and diagnostic centers have a crucial function in Greece’s health care system as patients often have to wait for at least 2 weeks for a blood test at public facilities like hospitals, at least a month for a simple ultrasound and up to 6 months for tomography scans.