Public Health Sector Faces Serious Reforms

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The issue of reforms in the public health sector was discussed on November 11 at a roundtable attended by officials of the Ministry of Health–members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Social Welfare–Public Health and Nature Protection–head physicians of Yerevan clinics and maternity homes–and experts.

The roundtable participants pointed out that the state of the public health sector has only been fulfilled by 30 percent. The debts are being accumulated and are most likely to be included in the next fiscal year. The optimization measures have already been mapped out. First of all it is the legislative regulation of the system’s activities. The issues of medical insurance and privatization of medical establishmen’s are acquiring paramount importance.

Head physicians of the Yerevan clinics stated that free treatment does not exist. In this aspect–participants pointed out the need for the adoption of a law on medical insurance.

As regards to the privatization of medical establishmen’s–the roundtable participants were more careful in expressing opinions. A number of head physicians believe that the privatizations should be carried out stage by stage. Before the privatization–a zero balance of a medical establishment must be ensured. Proposals for payment of debts by means of shares of the privatized medical establishmen’s as well as proposals for various financing schemes are under consideration.

The results of the discussion were summed up by Gagik Tadevossian. He pointed out that the Committee decided to initiate the exemption of medical establishmen’s from profits tax. Further–besides basic laws related to the public health sector–sectoral laws should be adopted–and the law on obstetrics is likely to be the first among them.

The Committee intends to establish control over the family planning program–which according to the Committee members–needs the closest attention.

The discussion of the optimization measures will be continued at the public hearings in Parliament.

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