Underfunding Causes Problems at UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia’s Leading Hospital

By , 19 Sep 2019, 09:06 AM Politics
Underfunding Causes Problems at UKC Ljubljana, Slovenia’s Leading Hospital www.kclj.si

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STA, 18 September 2019 - UKC Ljubljana, the country's leading hospital, incurs an annual loss of seven to eight million euro because their services and programmes are underrated, consequently receiving less funds then necessary, its director general Janez Poklukar told the press on Wednesday.

To improve the situation, UKC Ljubljana has asked the ZZZS public health fund to expand some of its programmes and raise prices, but is still waiting for reply.

The hospital makes a loss of up to EUR 5,000 per procedure for which it has no adequate funding, or even up to EUR 50,000 per patient for external mechanical circulatory assistance and mechanical ventilation assistance, the director explained.

One of such treatments is a newer procedure to replace the aortal valve without incision in the chest.

Another is the DaTscan brain imaging test to help diagnose Parkinson's disease or radiofrequency ablation in patients with arrhythmia, to name but a few.

Having enough staff and equipment, UKC Ljubljana could perform more aortic valve procedures than approved by the ZZZS, said Poklukar.

However, it met the approved quota for this year before August, so any new procedure the hospital would perform without ZZZS funding approved generates loss.

Poklukar would also expect more understanding from the state in radiofrequency ablation, a procedure performed largely on active population, which in the long run reduces healthcare costs.

The waiting time for this procedure at UKC Ljubljana, one of only three Slovenian hospitals performing it, is the longest in Slovenia, up to three years, he said.

"Regardless of all organisational measures and streamlining, it's impossible to break even with the treatment of patients with severest conditions, so we make a EUR 5,000 loss per procedure on average," he said.

Poklukar explained that the majority of underrated services are carried out only by both university clinics - UKC Ljubljana and UKC Maribor and by one other hospital.

"And this is why they are underfunded. The services are often hidden in a package of payments of tertiary services so that nobody at the ZZZS actually deals with them, which consequently makes us inefficient," he complained.

He said UKC tried to change the situation as part of talks on changes to the healthcare system over the past year, but had not been successful.

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