State health service “owes €26 million to private hospitals”

The agreement that sees national health service patients operated on in private hospitals when State authorities fail to meet statutory time limits may benefit private citizens but it is crippling the system.

According to Correio da Manhã today, the country’s health service owes €26 million to private hospitals, and the debt is reverberating on public hospitals.

CM explains that the health ministry is “holding back” €8.3 million destined for various healthcare facilities, in order to use it to pay the ‘surgical vouchers’ it spent in the private sector during 2016.

Meantime, private hospitals are understandably upset.

A meeting behind closed doors between the health ministry and the association of private Portuguese hospitals went ahead last week, in which the latter “complained about the delays in receiving payments”, says CM.

For now, the €8.3 million is due to start being paid back next week, leaving decisions yet to be made about the remaining €17.7 million.

As the paper explains, State hospitals are obliged to pass patients needing surgery to the private sector when maximum time limits (which vary according to operations required) are exhausted.

Vila Nova da Gaia is the hospital that is due for the largest ‘deduction’ from its budget as a result of the upset – €1 million, to be paid in three months, according to CM.

Thirty four other hospitals are involved, with the Algarve’s CHA administration covering three regional hospitals faced with an €896,000 cut, while Coimbra’s university hospital will miss out on €743,000.

[email protected]