The meeting of the Parliamentary Audit Committee was held in an intense atmosphere, at which the findings of the Annual Report of the Auditor General for the Health Insurance Organization and the operation of the GESS were presented, while at the end of the meeting the Audit Office announced that it would send findings. to the Police. The Ministers of Finance and Health were also present at the meeting, with the latter pointing out that in no case is there any intention on the part of the government to change the philosophy of GESS, while he announced that a meeting of the Board of Directors of OAY is scheduled for next Tuesday. of the same, with the main topic of abuses in the GESS and the ways to reduce them.
The Minister of Finance, Konstantinos Petridis, said, among other things, that those who fight the GESS are those who refuse to implement the legislation. With mathematical precision, they lead this great conquest of all to collapse “, answering a question of the AKEL MP, George Loukaidis, who spoke about” method by the Minister of Finance “.
A series of irregularities
During his statement, the Auditor General, Odysseas Michailidis, referred to the finding of a series of irregularities that arose during the examination of the operation of the OAY and the GESS by the State Audit Office. He spoke of “opaque contracts” of the OAU with private hospitals and an irregular way of calculating the price of the service charge unit, which results in the same medical operations, having different charges per hospital. He argued that the OAU should establish a framework for cooperation and invite private hospitals to contract with it, if they agree, instead of entering into contracts with each one individually. He also stressed that the OAU refused to provide a “complete package of services”, contrary to what is provided by law, while he also made special reference to the issue of Accident and Emergency Departments of private hospitals, which are contracted with the GESS, but have not provided the beneficiaries with the services of TAEP. He also referred to the costs for the treatment of patients abroad, in case the necessary services are not offered within the country, explaining that by law the OAU is obliged to cover them. “Until now, OAU has not covered this cost, which is paid by the Ministry. Health “. The General Director of the Ministry Health, for its part, said that in 2021, a cost of € 23 million was covered for the treatment of 1,000 patients abroad.
Mr. Michailidis also referred to a list of services, estimated at € 120 million, which the OAY requests to be paid by the Ministry. Health. According to the Auditor General, the request to the Ministry to cover the cost of dialysis services, the AIDS clinic, the social centers in remote areas (Polis Chrysochous and Kyperounta), the thalassemia center, the pediatric neurological clinic or the clinical psychiatric clinic was unjustified. of public hospitals. A special reference was made to the problem that was pointed out by the Attorney General and concerns the charging of services to beneficiaries of the GESS, by hospitals, which are contracted with the OAY. The Auditor General cited examples of physicians who should be audited. He referred to the fact that 20% of GPs have incomes over € 200,000, as in the case of an 80-year-old GP with 2,488 beneficiaries on his list, to a doctor who received € 870,000 for outpatient care in 2020, to a couple of gynecologists who received € 700,000 each. for outpatient services, but also five doctors with incomes over € 600,000 in 2020, who have not submitted tax returns since 2019.
The view that “the GESS is the only policy of the state that mutilates the Ministry. Finance Minister “, expressed the Minister, Konstantinos Petridis during the meeting of the Committee and added that he agrees with the report and the recommendations of the Auditor General. Referring to the Mercer study, the Minister said that “the GESS should cost around € 1,200 per citizen or € 2,300 per employee. According to the expenses calculated for 2022, in 2022 it will cost € 1,670 per citizen, € 3,222 per employee “. He added that the actual health expenditures that are not included in the OAY budget are € 2,300 per citizen and € 4,400 per employee. Mr. Petridis said that “the taxpayer pays two or three times the health expenses” because the legislation of the GESS is not properly implemented. “If we wanted to be strict as a government at the moment, we would have to increase contributions by 20% -30%, in order to provide the remaining services,” he stressed.
Konstantinos Petridis said that the goal is to implement literally the legislation for the operation of the OAU, by adopting the opinions of the Attorney General, defending the global budget. He also said that according to another law, the services not provided by GESS will be offset by the state contribution.
concerning the provision of services within the framework of the GESS “and stressed that controls must be carried out. “This is a great social achievement, but the data are very worrying, but when there is a will from everyone, things can be corrected,” he concluded.
Meeting at the Ministry. Health for corrections based on the Advocate General's opinion
In his statements after the meeting, the Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipandela, said that for a long time his Ministry is in consultation with the OAU, for the corrections that must be made in the health system, as a result of the abuses, to note that the A meeting of the Board of Directors of OAY is scheduled for Tuesday in its presence, with the main topic being the abuses in the GESS and the ways to reduce them.
As Mr. Hadjipandella stated, after deciding on the way in which the specific abuses will be reduced, they will have a meeting with the Auditor General, who will be informed about the decisions, but to take into account any other suggestions.
Regarding the GESS legislation, he said that his Ministry, always in consultation with the Attorney General, who is his legal advisor, has agreed that any new contracts signed with private hospitals from now on or any other contract renewals will will be taken into account, will take into account the opinions of the Attorney General and his approval before the contract is signed.
“which we have decided, in consultation with the Attorney General,” he said.
Asked to comment on the reports of the Minister of Finance about the collapse of the GESS, if the abuses continue, the Minister of Health admitted that “there are abuses”, noting that these abuses will try to stop them from Tuesday, when decisions will be made./p>
Asked if cases will be sent to the Police, he said that “after pressure from the Ministry of Health, some have been taken to the Police, so the water has entered the ditch, so that those who are illegal, can go to court,” he added.
“It is misleading to say that OAY is not controlled by anyone”, says Th. Antoniou
“It is misleading to say that the OAY is not controlled by anyone,” said the President of the Organization, Thomas Antoniou, saying that in making decisions by the Board. Ministries, workers' representatives, patients, OEB, KEVE and trade unions are involved. in the OAY Council are represented persons from the Ministries of Finance and Health, who did not disagree. “The contracts,” he said, “were co-signed by the former Minister of Health, Konstantinos Ioannou.” expenses, such as hospitalization of patients abroad.
He also said that next Tuesday he will have a meeting with the Minister of Health, as well as with the Minister of Finance, to add that they will put things down and we will try to find solutions because they owe it to the Cypriot citizen.