Private healthcare providers ask state for €1.4 million

Doctor. Source: Darko Stojanovic/Pixabay

The Association of Private Healthcare Providers (Eesti Eratervishoiuasutuste Liit) reports that their income has decreased by over two million euros during the past month and as private healthcare providers don't benefit from overall state support measures, an additional grant amounting to €1.4 million should be developed.

"We propose to develop measures for private healthcare providers that will ensure the sustainability of the sector and partially compensate for loss of earnings. We have calculated that the given measure should amount to some €1.4 million," Association of Private Healthcare Providers board member Ivo Saarma remarked.

He explained that treatment at private clinics was suspended by the Health Board (Terviseamet) on March 26 in response to the spread of coronavirus, restoration of treatments began on April 21. Restrictions imposed gave rise to a situation where private healthcare professionals did not have work and patients did not recieve treatment for a month.

"Consequently, the number of patients has decreased by around 80 percent, which has affected the income of the association members. According to our study, the income of our members decreased 64 percent or over €2 million between March 26 and April 21," Saarma added.

Saarma said that the Estonian Health Insurance Fund will provide some support to private healthcare providers in contract with the fund, whereas private entities not in contract with the fund can only rely on the Unemployment Insurance Fund measures.

"Taking into account the special characteristics of the sector and the nature of the measure, it will not offer necessary relief for private healthcare providers in order to survive. The measure grants support only for a period of two months but it takes much more time to recover the number of patients and achieve economic stability," Saarma added.

"Based on the information of the association, €1,000 [maximum amount the Unemployment Insurance Fund compensates of an employee's wage] represents an average of 32 percent of the pay of doctors and around 62 percent of that of nurses. This means that private healthcare providers must contribute significantly if they are to motivate highly qualified specialists. This, however, is not conceivable in a situation where it has been impossible to carry out scheduled treatment and earn income for a month," Saarma said.

With regard to the above, the Association of Private Healthcare Providers has proposed to develop measures for private healthcare providers that will ensure the sustainability of the sector and partially compensate for loss of earnings, amounting to €1,4 million euros.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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