Some doctors in favour of patients paying in cash

20-12-2000

It's not easy being a doctor in the Czech Republic. This is a claim frequently made by many Czech physicians. As of the beginning of 2001, health insurance companies will probably end up paying more for medical care. This will apparently leave doctors, especially ones with private practises, fearing that they will not be paid for their work in time, and they therefore claim patients will have to pay in cash. More from Lucie Krupickova:

As of 2001, changes will be introduced to the evaluation of medical treatment costs in the Czech Republic. The Government has agreed to increase prices for medical care by about 5 percent. Although the exact version of the agreement has not yet been released, health insurance companies claim they will be forced to pay out more for treatment. Most of the insurance companies, however, do not have sufficient funds to cover the price increases, as many of them are heavily in debt. This could, in turn, lead to delays in payments to doctors. Czech doctors, and in particular private physicians, therefore claim that they will require direct payments from patients, who would then apply for refunds from health insurance companies themselves. One of those in favour of this option is sexual therapist Petr Weiss. As he says, however, the situation is not that straightforward:

According to the spokesman for the Czech Medical Chamber, Pavel Kubicek, Czech law does not allow direct payments from patients, although the concept is widely accepted, especially among doctors and other medical experts. Mr. Kubicek claims that people would then rethink the necessity of obtaining medical treatment. When asked how long it would take to implement such legislation Mr. Kubicek said that if the previous government was unable to keep its promise to implement such a law, the current government could hardly be expected to do so.