dario nakić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

Patients who come to casualty wards and are established as not requiring emergency treatment but insist on being treated in a hospital casualty ward will have to pay a HRK 150 fee, Health Minister Dario Nakic told reporters on Wednesday after a government session.

Nakic explained what the reform of emergency health care, which is scheduled to begin in May, will look like. Regular procedure requires patients to first see their family doctor. Emergency treatment at hospital casualty wards will require patients to call 194 first, where qualified medical personnel will determine whether a case is an emergency and will refer patients on.

We propose that if somebody bypasses all these steps and insists on being treated in a hospital casualty ward, where it is determined that this was not necessary, that they pay HRK 150 for the examination, Nakic said. Should a doctor prescribe some form of therapy or infusion, that fee will be halved.

"In that case, the patient will be required to pay HRK 70. We wish to provide speedy treatment for those patients who truly are emergency cases and not have someone having a heart attack wait for 10 hours to be seen because that jeopardises that patient," Nakic said.

Reporters were interested in supplementary health insurance and asked if the minister feared that young people would transfer their health coverage to private insurers and if that could undermine the system, Nakic responded that he wasn't afraid of that.

He recalled that a few years ago some beneficiaries paid HRK 130 for supplementary health insurance and that now the government was increasing the price from HRK 70 to HRK 89.

"Private insurance companies will compete with the Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO). Based on all the information I have, I expect that all private companies that cannot sustain such a low level of supplementary health insurance will raise their prices. People have a choice," he said.

Nakic once again rejected media speculation on the privatisation of the health system and underscored that the announced reform measures were aimed at stabilising the public health system.

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