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Medical association slams speculation over doctors’ pay under Gesy

The trafficking ring acted out of a Pristina clinic

The Cyprus medical association (CyMA) on Thursday slammed media reports that recently launched negotiations between the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) on its participation in the National Health Scheme (Gesy) are expected to be tough as CyMA is demanding more than double the annual salary for doctors than the state agency.
According to daily newspaper Phileleftheros, CyMA is demanding around €560,000 in annual pay for the maximum number of 2,500 patients each physician is allowed to have on his or her list compared with the €230,000, the HIO is offering.
The HIO, which is tasked with administering the fund set up to finance Gesy, reportedly proposed to private doctors an average €100,000 per year, which corresponds to around 1,100 patients. If a doctor has the maximum number of patients in his or her lists, 2,500 people, their maximum annual pay will be around €230,000, as per the HIO’s proposal.
But CyMA reportedly maintains that doctors’ pay should be according to the amount provided in their agreement with insurance companies – €50 per patient.
Private doctors reportedly submitted their own calculations based on data from other national health schemes showing that each patient visits their personal physician on average 4.5 times per year, translating to €225 per patient per year. Multiplying that amount by 2,500 patients means €562,000 per year.
CyMA, Phileleftheros said, has already sent a letter to HIO declining its offer of €100,000 on average per year, and aims to ask for higher rates for specialist doctors.
Head of CyMA, Petros Agathangelou, expressed his discontent for the leak of the letter and argued that the amounts discussed are merely estimates.
“We asked (HIO) in writing to provide some indicative data as regards doctors’ pay and we put forth many questions not only on salaries, to be able to enter a structured dialogue to pave the way for the introduction of Gesy,” Agathangelou told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Thursday.
He added that the HIO gave them an indicative amount – €100,000 – which CyMA, after breaking it down, found ‘does not correspond to decent pay for doctors based on today’s data’. HIO, Agathangelou said, had stressed to CyMA that the amount was only indicative.
The proposed €100,000, Agathangelou said, calculating all parameters meant €10 per patient visit.
On CyMA’s estimation of €560,000 for the maximum number of patients, Agathangelou said that was not an enormous amount after taking into consideration all parameters.
He said, however, that discussion has only began and that these amounts are not final. There are no specific data yet on which the two sides can agree, he said.
“The money is not only for the doctors, but to also ensure quality healthcare,” Agathangelou said.
CyMA, he said, is a serious organisation and has the goodwill to negotiate and reach a compromise so that Gesy can kick in.
Agathangelou said the media report in question aimed to influence public opinion to give the impression that doctors’ pay is hindering Gesy.
Phileleftheros also quoted the head of HIO, Thomas Antoniou, as saying that proposals were prepared based on the budget for Gesy and that there are no margins to exceed it.
State doctors have already reached an agreement with HIO on their pay under Gesy.
Consultations with CyMA are expected to be completed within six months, the health minister had said earlier in the year. Keeping this timeframe is imperative, the minister had said, as in March 2019 taxpayers’ contributions to Gesy will begin, while in June of the same year, outpatient care is to kick in.
Parliament passed in June three government bills and regulations introducing Gesy, which after a gradual implementation, is expected to be in full swing by July 1, 2020.

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