• Lawmakers approved the restoration of arbitration committees

    June 1, 2015

    The members of the Parliamentary Health Committee approved the restoration of the arbitration committees. This happened during a meeting last Thursday, when the amendments to the Health Insurance Act were adopted at second reading. The final vote on the Act in the plenary chamber lies ahead.

    The MPs debated whether Regional Health Inspection representatives should be included in arbitration committees. Most of them advocated the idea that this would affect the balance in decision making. According to them, the number of the Regional Health Insurance Fund representatives has to be equal to that of the professional organizations representatives. The heads of the Bulgarian Medical Association, the Bulgarian Dental Association, the Bulgarian Organization of Healthcare Professionals, and the Bulgarian Pharmaceutical Union, who had attended the meeting, supported the view that there should be parity. In the end, the lawmakers decided to eliminate that part of the bill which guaranteed committees to include Regional Health Inspection representatives.

    The Ministry of Health even suggested the number of Regional Health Inspections position openings to be reduced from 2877 to 2502 position openings. The draft amendments to the Rules of the Regional Health Inspections Department have been published on the website of the Ministry of Health for public comment.

    After motivated proposals made by the Directors of the Regional Health Inspections, it was determined that state inspections should reduce the total amount of position openings by 375 position openings, and the rest are to be distributed between the inspections.

    The MPs rejected a proposal to amend the Health Insurance Act, which regulated the amount of fines imposed by the NHIF for various violations. They accepted the viewpoint of the Ministry of Health and the professional organizations that the Health Insurance Act did not need such a text. The President of the Dental Association Dr. Borislav Milanov noted that since the National Framework Contract negotiated prices and volumes, it was appropriate it would also determine the fines. Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Boyko Penkov had similar views that sanctions should be regulated in the National Framework Contract. In the long run, the MPs voted that the fines are to be negotiated among the NHIF, the Bulgarian Medical Association and the Bulgarian Dental Association in the Framework Contract.

    Meanwhile, the MPs did not accept the proposal of Dr. Emil Raynov from the Bulgarian Socialist Party to transfer to the NHIF budget a sum of BGN 1.4 billion. He motivated his idea by reminding that the amount taken from the reserve of the NHIV by the preceding government of the party GERB had to be recovered. The proposal was supported only by the opposition lawmakers.