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Are changes within the healthcare sector coming?

By Keti Arjevanidze
Thursday, January 24
Doctors 'qualification exams, as well as the enactment of general health insurance were among the issues Davit Sergeenko, Minister of Health, Labor and Social Affairs of Georgia, discussed with the media on January 23.

According to Sergeenko, the ministry is going to change the doctors’ qualification system significantly. “Our aim is to address the quality, that is why we decided to restore the doctors’ qualification exams,” Sergeenko assures that it will lead to positive results.

The minister also spoke about the status of some medical institutions, saying that many still do not have any. He said many hospitals were sold and consequently on the initial stage, the investor’s responsibilities “disappeared.”

A prescription recovery system was the issue on which the ministry has already started to work on. According to the minister, existing regulations on medicines are in serious need of revision. “According to the new system, not only narcotic and psychotropic drugs will need a doctor’s prescription, but in general, antibacterial drugs and different disease management as well, in order to regulate the system properly,” said the minister.

Considering analysts’ threat and opinion about possible price increase on medicines, Sergeenko excluded such a possibility. He admitted that the work goes according to the model which will not cause an increase of prices, “on the contrary, this approach will include everything in the frames,” stated Sergeenko.

Minister Sergeenko also excluded the threat for private insurance companies by the general health insurance. “We do not expect any discriminative aspects around this issue,” he promised.

According to him, during the first stage, people who are not insured will be covered with the minimum insurance package, which includes two main items – unlimited visits to the family doctor without any co-payment and the management of emergency cases, both on an ambulatory and hospital level. Sergeenko added that the service will be carried out through an electronic database.

The healthcare minister also commented on the recent high-profile issue–free childbirth. Sergeenko said the ministry representatives have not met with maternity hospital management yet and accordingly he did not name the exact amount considered for childbirth. Although he said that from July 1, childbirth will be guaranteed in insurance packages. The minister also remarked that woman in labor who wants VIP service will have to pay on their own apart from the basic package, but he mentioned that the package which the ministry offers will be enough to guarantee all the conditions for the patient.

The ministry will sign an agreement with those hospitals which meet the quality requirements.