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Government health reforms increase number of insured

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, May 3

On April 30 Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri presented the Government’s ongoing reforms in the medical system and the relevant strategic plan to public. He said that the Government has been working on these reforms by responding to all burning issues for the last several months.

“Today we [the Government of Georgia] want to inform you about the results of our attempts to ensure a high standard of medical service, accessible for each citizen, by offering modern medical clinics with qualified staff,” Gilauri said. He explained that the 100 New Hospitals project had failed due to lack of funding from international institutions. “This however doesn’t mean that nothing has been done in this respect, on the contrary, lots of other projects have been implemented with great success and the number of insured people has increased to 1.5 million,” Gilauri added.

The Prime Minister also spoke of the importance of retraining medical staff in the regions. He said 1,200 doctors and 1,300 nurses had now been trained to work in modern village hospitals. “Everything which has been done is not enough however, and therefore we have changed the 100 New Hospitals project by launching a new tender among insurance companies, which had previously faced several problems in the health field,” the Minister said, explaining that there were not enough equipped hospitals and insurance companies used to have to spend too much money on PR campaigns to attract clients. This reform has eradicated these expenses. “Each district will now be served by its [personal] insurance company which will insure all patients in that particular region for 3 years,” said Gilauri.

The Prime Minister specified that under the terms of the tender the winning insurance companies will now have to build new hospitals according to state standards by particular deadlines defined by the Government. There will soon be 46 hospitals containing more than 1,130 beds. “Another most important change is the introduction of a mediation service. This is a state initiative which enables people to access independent people who deal with problems between the insurance companies and their clients. This service will defend the users’ rights by controlling the insurance companies and making sure they follow the specified standards. Block Georgia has failed in this direction and the Government has now suspended its contract with this company and is imposing a penalty for non-fulfilment of it,” Gilauri said, stressing that the company's hospitals in Tbilisi, Batumi and other cities will be confiscated by the state while the one in Zugdidi (which it has successfully established) will remain its property, although additional obligations will be imposed on the company.

The Messenger asked Sopho Gvalia, Head of the Press Centre of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, about the ongoing reforms. She said there have been particular changes aimed at strengthening agencies such as the Mediation Service.”This service is designed to defend the rights of the people affected by the insurance companies. It was established a long time ago but the reform will increase its powrs so that the service will be accessible outside the cities and consultations will be available through a hotline,” Gvalia added. The Ministry’s Press Centre said that there will be 888,392 beneficiaries of health insurance as a result of the tender, who will receive support from GPI Holding, Aldagi BCI, Imedi L International, Alpha Group and other insurance companies.