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Ratas: Healthcare a priority of Estonian government

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas visiting Tartu University Hospital on Friday. Feb. 2, 2018.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas visiting Tartu University Hospital on Friday. Feb. 2, 2018. Source: (Government Office)

Healthcare is and will remain one of the priorities of the Estonian government, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said at a meeting with the leadership of Tartu University Hospital on Friday.

The government has already made important decisions for improving access to medical assistance and the sustainability of Estonia's healthcare system, Ratas said according to a government press release.

Since Jan. 1, the state has been paying the health insurance portion of the social tax for non-working pensioners, which by 2022 will increase to 13 percent. As a result of the changes, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) will receive an extra €220 million between 2018-2021, and an extra nearly €100 million per year after that.

According to the prime minister, this extra money will allow for the shortening of waiting lists for medical care as well as improve access to health services and the continuity and quality of treatment. He also highlighted the fact that as of Jan. 1, those with an increased need for medical care are now having their prescription drug costs compensated to a larger extent than before.

The national health development plan will be updated this year, said Ratas. "The development plan will set the directions in Estonia's healthcare policy, and the contributions of hospitals and healthcare workers alike are crucial in ensuring that these directions correspond to the current and future needs of society in the field of healthcare," he explained.

According to Ratas, Tartu University Hospital's unique position as a connector of medical and research work provides them with the opportunity to direct the future of Estonian healtchare, for instance by developing personal medicine in cooperation with the Estonian Genome Center.

"The future of the healthcare system is human-centered," said the prime minister. "In additional to personal meicine, it looks as though treatment and care services will be integrated, and healthcare service providers will be funded based not on activity, but rather achieved health outcomes."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS, ERR

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