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Thousands of cases of system abuse of Gesy have been investigated

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Tuesday said he has given instructions for tackling abuse of Gesy by doctors after 34,000 suspicious cases have reportedly been probed so far.

The minister said that there have been cases where the system has been abused.

“I have been informed of this phenomenon and it is up to the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) to intensify its efforts by introducing protocols and regulations so that this abuse stops,” Ioannou said.

He added that the HIO’s compensation department ought to be reinforced.

According to the minister, the matter was “extremely important.”

Media reports said that between June 1 when Gesy was launched and the end of August, the system’s software detected around 34,000 suspicious cases which have been investigated. In their majority they were found to be justified, however.

Some of the cases the HIO is investigating concern unnecessary examinations and/or lab tests, possible cooperation between doctors who joined Gesy with colleagues who are not operating within the system, and medical examinations that never took place.

In cases where medical procedures filed were not justified, the physicians who filed them were not compensated.

On one occasion, a patient reported that the physician they visited for consultation recorded on their medical records a series of examinations they did not undergo.

Reports said that in the future, physicians found to squander public funds could be removed from Gesy.

The newly-established association of private doctors who joined Gesy (Sis-Gesy) also said this week they have observed cases of abuse of the system, “the cost of which is borne not only by HIO but also by the labs and radiology centres including additional work load through no fault of their own.”

“Management of the finances is imperative,” the group said in its first announcement as an organised body, adding that every euro spent must benefit patients.

The group suggested that the HIO and the health ministry swiftly put in place controls to prevent abuse, quality control, waste and pay controls and raise awareness among physicians.

Ioannou said there will always be attempts to abuse the system but that the HIO needs to be proactive to tackle this problem.

Meanwhile, the HIO’s staff announced they would go on a two-hour work stoppage on Friday morning over the reluctance of their employer to offer them inpatient medical coverage since that part of the budget for 2019 has not been released yet by parliament.

The employees said that for months they and their families live in uncertainty since they are uninsured as regards coverage of inpatient care.

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