- Hans Weber
- November 30, 2023
Proposal to Compel Czech Doctors to Serve on Emergency Duty Sparks Controversy
The proposal of a payment ordinance for the upcoming year in the Czech Republic has ignited strong reactions from healthcare practitioners. The ordinance aims to obligate hospital doctors and general practitioners to serve on emergency duty, with the Ministry of Health warning that failure to fulfill this obligation would result in reduced funds from insurance companies for patient care. However, practitioners are vehemently opposed to this approach.
Petr Šonka, chairman of the Practical Doctors’ Association, expressed dissatisfaction, arguing that the emergency service contract goes beyond the contract general practitioners have with health insurance companies. He finds it wrong to link payment to an additional contract that they can’t influence.
The Ministry has suggested that if a region requests a doctor to provide emergency services and the doctor fails to fulfill this obligation, a penalty will be imposed on the payment received from the insurance company for each patient, while a bonus will be granted if services are covered.
Criticism of the proposal extends beyond general practitioners. The Union of Employers’ Associations and the Czech Stomatological Chamber have raised objections as well. Stomatologists, in particular, criticized the reduction in the budget for treatment, emphasizing that patient registration alone does not benefit patients.
The Czech Medical Chamber has presented numerous comments on the ordinance, and labor unions have also expressed concerns. The Confederation of Trade Unions supports the proposed six percent increase in reimbursements but seeks additional adjustments to increase remuneration for healthcare and non-healthcare workers.
Next year, hospitals providing acute care are expected to receive an average six percent increase in funding from health insurance companies, while those offering subsequent care will receive an eight percent increase. However, the Czech Medical Chamber has persistently advocated for a 15 percent increase.
The controversy over the proposed payment ordinance highlights ongoing debates over healthcare funding and the role of healthcare practitioners in the Czech Republic’s healthcare system. It remains to be seen how the final ordinance will address these concerns and whether it will be adopted as law.
Article by Prague Forum