Full implementation of the National Health Scheme will be sought by mid-2016 in three phases, according to the revised bailout memorandum.
Speaking at the House Health Committee yesterday, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis said the first phase will be launched in July 2015 with primary healthcare services including visits to the family doctor and paediatricians.
The second phase will take place on January 1, 2016 and will include all secondary and tertiary medical care such as laboratory and clinical examinations and inpatient treatment.
According to Patsalis, the gradual implementation of the NHS will allow the close observation of the system by the government, containment of the total cost on medical expenses and the smooth adjustment, especially by employers and employees who will be burdened with part of the cost.
In addition, it will help with the confrontation of problematic issues that may occur as well as information collection for enhancement of the system’s efficiency.
The minister also said that the design of the operation of the NHS will be based on insurance providers through the government’s Health Insurance Organisation.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry will look into the potential implementation of an open system which will allow participation in more than one insurance company, provided that functionality, financial viability and effectiveness are ensured.
Negotiations with the Troika resulted in a detailed action plan on the amendments that must be approved by the Cabinet by the end of June, while the approval of amendments to current legislations through a consulting committee is required by the end of 2014.
Patsalis said that the official roadmap for the implementation of the NHS will be announced in June, while a detailed action plan regarding the autonomy and restructuring of state hospitals, the Health Ministry and related organisations will also be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
According to the roadmap, tenders will be announced in June for the NHS electronic system which will take about two years to be completed, while an international counselling team will also be formed.
A draft budget for all state hospitals and medical centres will have to be prepared by September, while the involvement of the House begins in November with the examination and approval of bills.
In December the House will also vote on the draft budgets for all out-of-hospital services and draft bills related to the implementation of the NHS, as well as back-up measures that will ensure the implementation of the system in case something goes wrong.
According to the minister, the Troika expects there to be a plan B and a plan C.
In June 2015 the empowerment of hospitals will be completed and the implementation of the NHS will take place in three phases ending in July 2015, January 2016 and July 2016 respectively.