Seimas approves overhaul of health facilities
The Lithuanian parliament has approved an overhaul of health facilities that gives the health minister the right to decide on the network of such facilities.
The amendments, which last Saturday passed the second reading in the Seimas, envisage, among other things, that health facilities within the minister-approved network will be given priority in signing contracts with Territorial Health Insurance Funds (THIFs).
Private inpatient facilities will be able to conclude contracts with the THIFs only if they provide services that cannot be ensured by public hospitals.
Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga has said that 4,500 publicly-financed hospital beds are currently unused or patients are hospitalized unnecessarily.
The amendments also provide that private healthcare providers will have to meet certain criteria to obtain contracts with the territorial funds. The criteria have been criticized by the Investors' Forum.
Many of the changes are planned to be put in place next January, with centers employing ten or fewer licensed medical or dental practitioners to be given a transition period.
The changes to the procedure for concluding contracts with the Territorial Health Insurance Funds will come into effect in 2020.