The law obliging every health care provider to verify whether incoming patients have the privity making them eligible to receive treatment came into effect on April 1.
As the system is not fully prepared yet, it is only a so-called test run until September 1, and the only obligatory payments to be collected before January 2008 are the visit fee and the daily contribution of bed-patients. The National Health Fund Administration (OEP) informed the providers about how they can carry out the new administrative obligations: those institutions treating bed-patients or outpatients, having the patients’ social insurance card or identification card can contact OEP online.
General practitioners (GP) can do the same. Since they have a permanent group of clientele OEP will regularly inform them about any changes in the patients’ legal status, of which doctors will notify their patients in a written form. Commenting on the general reform of hospitals, Mihály Varga, the president of the Association of Hungarian Hospitals calls the attention to two major shortcoming arising from the too hasty implementation: the so called focal hospitals should have been thoroughly prepared for the extra burden they will have to face; there is no knowing what happens to the redundant doctors and other staff members.
In the opinion of István Mikola, the expert of Fidesz, the introduction of the multi-insurance system has begun and insurance agents will try to win the confidence of GPs to obtain their patients personal data. In response, Mihály Kökény, the socialist head of the Healthcare Committee said it was just another attempt on the part of Fidesz to provoke scandal. He added that the government is going to fine-tune the reform in mid-April, having received initial feedback. (Magyar Hírlap)