The government on Thursday presented the revised catalogues of pay for specialised medical procedures in 35 categories as part of the national health scheme Gesy.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said at a presentation that the revision was deemed necessary following recommendations by a group of doctors after gaps were found that could create problems along the way.
“In order to correct these gaps that would certainly cause problems or burden the system in the future, the lists were re-assessed and reviewed in order to be as close as possible to the Cypriot reality,” Ioannou said.
The lists concern doctors’ pay for medical procedures for outpatient care and for patient visits which is being calculated based on points for each procedure and outpatient visit. Each point equals €15.
The minister said that there were no hikes in the cost. It was “just streamlining”.
First visits by patients have been assessed as 3.5 points which means specialists will be receiving €52.50, while every subsequent visit would count for two 2 points. In addition to the visits, doctors would also get paid for any medical procedures carried out during the visit. Some of these procedures include colonoscopy which would come up to 21 points, cardiovascular stress tests at seven points, or ultrasounds which have been set at 1.6 points for gynaecologists and 3.3 points for thyroid, parathyroid and parotid.
The lists will be constantly reviewed, the minister said, and called on medical societies to go through the new lists and submit their suggestions.
The head of the board of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) Thomas Antoniou said that the revision was made to adjust the list to the Cypriot reality since the initial one was based on the US system, and some procedures on that list were not even being done in Cyprus.
So far around 450,000 beneficiaries have registered with Gesy, more than 350 family doctors and 100 paediatricians, while 150 private-sector specialist doctors have expressed interest in joining Gesy, he said.
Ioannou said that doctors will most probably need some time to go through the new lists and wait to see how the system works before deciding whether to join or not.
“We expect more registrations after July or August when the system is up and running and those interested asses the actual situation,” the minister said.
As regards incentives to private hospitals to join Gesy, the minister said the cabinet decision this week for state subsidies to help them cover accreditation costs with bodies certified by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) was among the demands of the private hospitals’ association (Pasin).
Another one of their demands concerning building incentives, is under scrutiny by the state legal service. When the attorney-general issues a ruling the decision will be announced, he said.
The health ministry, he said, is also mulling over a subsidy scheme for the purchase of medical technology equipment by private hospitals and is to be announced within the coming weeks.