• MPs are wondering whether to entrust family doctors with handing out universal access codes

    May 13, 2015

    The Parliamentary Health Committee could not decide whether GPs should hand out universal access codes (UAC) to the NHIF electronic system to patients. This proposal was made by the MP from GERB Semir Abumelih and was passed among the amendments to the Health Insurance Act, which the Commission considered during its second presentation.

    The idea of the MP provoked the sharp reaction of the National Association of General Practitioners in Bulgaria some days ago, who said that that they were not postal services to provide this type of service. The GPs announced that in order to perform this, they would have to be paid additionally for the work.

    Meanwhile, during the discussion in the Health Committee last week, Abumelih noted that family physicians could play precisely the role of couriers between citizens and the NHIF. According to his proposal, they would be obliged to hand out to patients the UAC in question, in a sealed envelope, and the keep the receipts in a special form. Currently, to receive the code, citizens have to go to the RHIF, where it is handed out to them.

    The President of the Bulgarian Dental Association Dr. Borislav Milanov took the floor on behalf of the professional organizations. He urged lawmakers to take into account the opinions of doctors and not to burden them with additional clerical work.

    The MP from GERB Kiril Dobrev said that when the proposed text was to be voted, the MPs should take into account the opinion of the General Practitioners. According to him, they should not be obliged to perform the service in question. The Chair of the Health Committee Dr. Daniela Daritkova went on to ask who would pay for the organization of the proposed service.

    In response, the Manager of the NHIF Dr. Glinka Komitov said the Fund could not prepare 7 million envelopes with UACs. The Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Boyko Penkov said that neither the Fund, nor the Ministry had extra money this year. According to him, if lawmakers adopted the proposal, an amendment to the budget would have to be made.

    As a result, the MPs postponed their decision until the next meeting.