Cyprus Mail

Signs of compromise in tussle between Gesy and private doctors


The health ministry on Monday confirmed reports that a leading member of the medical association (CyMA) had proposed a compromise deal in a bid to get private doctors to join the National Health Scheme (Gesy).

The initiative, which has not been authorised by the CyMA board, was submitted to the health minister a few weeks ago and suggests a ceiling on the number of visits a patient can make to their GPs each year, with a €20 fee for each visit that exceeds that number.

The government reportedly counter proposed some two weeks ago a €10-fee and increased the ceiling on the number of annual visits. The ball, reports said, is now in the court of CyMA.

The health ministry on Monday confirmed the reports that a proposal had been submitted by a member of CyMA, in an attempt to make join Gesy more acceptable to private doctors.

CyMA had announced earlier in the year it would not back Gesy citing “serious risks to the quality of health care and patient safety”.

Andreas Papaconstantinou, the deputy head of the Health Insurance organisation (HIO), told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Monday that the proposal submitted to the government was not an official document, but that it came from the leadership of the association.

“It was given to the minister,” Papaconstantinou said and he forwarded it to the HIO, the state body in charge of implementing Gesy and negotiating with health care professionals over their participation in the health scheme.

The proposal, he said, had been presented to CyMA board but that because of disagreement among members, it had not been not expedited.

The informal CyMA proposal, according to daily Phileleftheros, calls for a ceiling on the annual visits of patients to their GPs – seven visits for children up to two year of age, two visits for children between 11 and 18, four visits for persons up to the age of 50 and six visits for those over 65. In cases they exceed that number, patients must pay €20 per extra visit, the proposal said.

The government counter proposed a €10-fee per extra visit, increasing the maximum visits to 10 for babies up to two years, three visits for the 11 to 18 age group, and to eight for those over 65.

Patients with chronic diseases ought to be exempt from this provision, the government reportedly said.

CyMA’s proposal also accepted the fees for GPs as set by the HIO, but called for a revision three years after Gesy is introduced.

The proposal also called for setting the remuneration for each medical procedure in advance and that the fee should not deviate significantly from what they currently receive from insurance companies.

It also calls for intensive dialogue to resolve differences concerning the second phase of Gesy, inpatient care, which is to kick in in June 2020.

The informal proposal calls for everything that is to be agreed between the two sides to be included in Gesy’s regulations and that any changes would have to always be approved by CyMA.

Spokesman of CyMA, Vasos Economou, told CyBC that this was not an official initiative as it had not been approved by the board.

He said that, even though these positions had been discussed, they were not tabled to the board for approval.

Economou said that some members of CyMA’s medical board that handle negotiations with the HIO have the right to take such initiatives, but that nothing was official.

He said that the board would look into both the informal proposal submitted to the government and the counterproposal before making any decisions.

Phase one of Gesy which is outpatient care is to be introduced on June 1.

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