Draft healthcare law aims to inject quality into medical services
Published at: 2011-11-21
A new healthcare law is currently being drafted to allow private insurers to break into the health insurance market, which is currently controlled by public bodies. The new law is due to be ready in December. Additional provisions include changes to the legal status of hospitals, a stricter mechanism for dealing with pharmaceutical expenses and providing rural-dwellers with better healthcare coverage.
The setting up of a national health card, electronic prescription and digital patient medical records system should also ensure more efficiency.
Ladislau Ritli, the minister of public health, described the current plight of the healthcare system, which is underfinanced and inefficient in spending its allocated funds. The comments were made at an event co-organized by Mediafax and the National Health Insurance House CNAS on the future of healthcare in Romania.
The management of care units (hospitals) can be improved and current demographic trends in Romania – the number of senior citizens is growing while many younger people are emigrating – will put additional pressure on healthcare financing in the years to come. In addition, local life expectancy at birth is eight years below the EU average, due to the high mortality rate of young adults and infants. Ritli said that around RON 4.4 billion would be spent on pharmaceuticals this year and that 2012 will bring further expansion in generic drugs. By the end of this year, a minimum package of medical services will be made available to the insured, through negative listing, allowing the standardization of medical services provided to patients.
Lucian Duta, president of the CNAS, highlighted that the gap between funding and consumption of medical services has widened to EUR 1 billion and that next year will bring balance in this area. For healthcare reform to succeed, public insurance bodies need to compete with private companies, added Duta, who believes that private competitors should be involved in all tiers of the healthcare system.
The new law will be completed in two or three weeks, in a joint effort that includes specialists from the Health Ministry, CNAS, Presidency and Public Finance Ministry. If Romanian insurance companies want to participate in the insurance business, but lack the adequate capital, an association between insurers may be allowed, said the CNAS president. The law took longer to draw up as the mechanism through which private health insurance players can access the market had to be set up. If the legal and public consultation processes go smoothly, and the law is passed without impediment, the private insurers could start signing up patients from 2013.
Ritli commented that the new law will introduce competition on the health insurance market, offer flexibility in the management of hospitals, which could become foundations, and improve the management of human resources. However, the exodus of medics to Western countries cannot be halted at present, added the minister.
Frans van der Ent, country manager at Eureko, which holds a 30 percent share of the Romanian health insurance market, added that companies ready to enter the healthcare insurance business will have to secure EUR 500 million as a buffer against risks and to ensure solvency, out of the EUR 3.5 billion that represents payments made by the CNAS today, and which should be turned into insurance premiums once the transfer to private operators takes place. Ent added that the profit margin in this business is 1 percent of the volume of annual written premiums. He noted that accessing the market means costs of at least RON 1 million for marketing campaigns and additional sums for IT infrastructure and other business expenses. At present, the voluntary health insurance market totals EUR 10 million.
Cristian Vladescu, general director of the National School of Public Health and Sanitary Management, who contributed to the new healthcare law draft, cited a survey showing that 79 percent of families with a household income that exceeds EUR 700 would take out private health insurance, while 55 percent earning EUR 230 would also do so. The survey results indicate that over 80 percent of companies would pay insurance premiums for employees if fiscal deductibility options were set up. Vladescu stated that a monthly payment of EUR 10 to 15 for these premiums would generate an additional EUR 1.5 billion in annual revenue for the healthcare budget.
WB: Economic growth will pick up speed in 2012
Published at: 2011-11-17
Romanian economy will post 1.5 pc growth this year, and 1.8-2.1 pc in 2012, according to the latest World Bank estimates, Money.ro reports. Even if Romania is expected to have one of the slightest economic growth from among the ten new EU member states, the World Bank report outlines that Romania and Slovenia will be the only countries of the aforementioned ten to witness an accelerated pace of economic growth next year.
“Economic growth in EU 10 would register a decline from 3 pc in 2011 to 2.1 pc in 2012,” sai Kaspar Richter, the World Bank Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia. Despite the contraction, the growth pace of the EU 10 will still be higher than that of the senior member states.
However, the World Bank warns the prospects remain uncertain for the newly entrants, given two-thirds of their exports go to the Union and nearly four-fifths of their banking assets are owned by foreign banks, with the latest tensions in Europe like to spread to the EU 10 as well. “The challenges for the EU is for financial markets to regain confidence, fiscal consolidation plans carry on and for structural problems to be solved in order that competitiveness improves,” said Peter Harrold, World Bank director for Central Europe and the Baltic countries.
The World Bank report recommends enhanced employee and company productivity thanks to Community funds, improving technologies and increasing professional competence.
ANOFM: Romania October Jobless Rate Rises Slightly To 4.93%
Published at: 2011-11-08
Romanian unemployment rate inched up to 4.93% in October, from 4.89% a month earlier, the country’s employment agency ANOFM said Tuesday.
A year earlier, Romania's jobless rate was 7.08%.
The total number of unemployed people reached 444,000 in October, up from 439,928 people in the previous month, ANOFM said.
End-October, the number of jobless claims rose to 164,064, from 153,812 claims a month earlier.
Romania Had Five Million Employees In End-October
Published at: 2011-11-08
Romania had about five million people in active employment at the end of October and more than six million active work contracts, Labor Minister Sulfina Barbu said Tuesday.
Barbu told the Senate's committee for labor that the exact number of active employees is 5,282,068 and there are 6,298,880 active work contracts, meaning some employees have two contracts. She pointed out that people working for employers with four or fewer employees were not counted.
Social security contributions increased in September 2011, compared to September 2010, by 14.9%, while state revenue from profit taxes increased 4.7 times in the same period, said the minister.
Employment Record Books Have No Substitute Yet
Published at: 2011-10-12
Labor inspection head says that without electronic signature, employment record books won’t be possible to replace.
The new application for the electronic registration of employees (Revisal) is just a control tool for labor inspectors and will not replace employment record books - which stopped being used at the beginning of the year - as long as the employee data are not secured and "guaranteed" by an electronic signature, believes general inspector Dantes Nicolae Bratu, 48, one of the first employees of the Labor Inspection Department set up eleven years ago.
"This database (Revisal i.e.) is a labor inspector's tool, it is neither a payroll, nor an employment record book. For the register to be turned into an electronic employment record system, it should be much more complex and I would start with the electronic signature and a higher level of security for the data," Bratu told ZF in an interview.
Revisal is a component of the ReGES (General Employee Register), which was updated this year so that employers could send information about every employee in a new format to the territorial labor inspection department by mid November. Yet the new version of the application was met with criticism from human resources managers who said it did not bring too many improvements compared with the old version because it freezes and incorrect entries cannot be erased.
"The general employee register had been around before January 1, 2007, though in paper format. Its role was to serve as a tool for labor inspectors to fight illegal work," Bratu said. "As not every company kept the employment record books at their place of operations, they had to show this register to the labor inspectors to prove the people in that particular workplace were legally employed."