Efforts to induct more occupational therapists into the national health scheme Gesy will continue, operator Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) said on Monday.
The HIO “fully respects” the occupational therapists’ association’s recent decision to reject its offer for the induction of its members into Gesy, senior official Monica Kyriacou told the Cyprus News Agency.
Nevertheless, efforts will continue “so that beneficiaries are better served,” she added, given that today they can receive such services within Gesy, from a small number of occupational therapists, specifically 34.
Last week, the association said that the HIO proposed a budget of €12.8 million, which would not cover the needs of enough patients, pointing out that according to their calculations, a budget of €30 million would be required.
The association said that “without having begun to provide treatments through Gesy to patients with chronic conditions, [the HIO] is attempting to justify the undoubtedly high demand for occupational therapy services as ‘system abuse’, instead of recognising its own inability to adequately provide the said services to all those who need them due to lack of resources”.
The HIO “does not have the financial ability to ensure all services required for its beneficiaries,” it said, saying that “regretfully we note that the approach to the issue is made with purely financial criteria, without any other scientific documentation, to the detriment of the patients”.
Kyriacou noted that the HIO has been in consultation with the association for several months, and that the proposal was drawn up based on its experience working with other health professionals for the management of patients with chronic diseases.
She specified that the proposal included specific ailments that occupational therapists could offer their services to, as well as the number of visits allowed “so that the package of services offered within Gesy would be clear, ensuring beneficiaries are dealt with in a timely manner”.
The package also included a provision for more than one yearly patient evaluation, which had been a constant request of the association.
Kyriacou said that given the number of beneficiaries eligible for occupational therapy services in HIO’s system, the recommended budget given in its proposal was “very satisfactory”.
She added that the number of these patients are expected to use the services on Gesy is not very large.
“We know how many patients we are talking about, but where the assessment is made is how many of these patients who have a diagnosis can be referred for occupational therapy services,” she said, noting that from working with other specialists, not 100 per cent of patients seek access to these services.
She also said that the proposal included leeway for negotiations if demand for occupational therapy services exceeded the extended figures. In such a case, she said, “HIO would be ready to proceed with a relative readjustment of the budget”.
Following the association’s rejection of the proposal, she said the HIO will initiate discussions and think on other possible solutions with the aim of increasing the availability of these services within Gesy.