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PostSubject: Bulgaria to shell out more cash for healthcare   Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:25 pm

[size=75:1pj79v8h]Dnevnik 16 February 2010

Bulgaria to shell out more cash for healthcare

As doctors threatened to take to the streets, the Bulgarian government pledged to pump hundreds of millions into the healthcare system although it did not specify where that is going to come from.

At a meeting with hospital directors on Monday, prime minister Boyko Borissov said the government will allocate an additional BGN 350 million to 400 million to healthcare and that hospitals will receive a grace period of six to 12 months to comply with the new criteria to work with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

However, the government will keep the controversial delegated budgets but rules will be tweaked, with hospitals getting paid by the month even if they have crossed their thresholds. The previous plan involved quarterly payments only after tough inspections.

“No one wants to shut hospitals. Those that fail to sign a single contract with the NHIF will have to close doors but these are not more than 20,” said health minister Bozhidar Nanev.

Announcing the extra healthcare allocation, Borissov at first said parliament will slice it off the NHIF’s reserve with the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), which is in excess of BGN 800 million but is part of the country’s consolidated budget.

But then finance minister and deputy prime minister Simeon Djankov said this is only one of a range of options, which include transfers from better receipts by the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and the Customs Agency.

Bulgaria aims to increase the healthcare budget allocation to 6% of GDP by the summer of 2012 from the current 4.2% at present.

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