Photo: BIRN

Gap Between Debt and Surplus Fuels Suspicions of Health Fund Mismanagement

Health Insurance Fund’s reported budget surplus for last year, despite an overall 30 million euros debt, raises questions of budget mismanagement.

Kosovo’s Health Insurance Fund has been providing help since 2014 with diseases that cannot be treated in Kosovar hospitals, whose patients have to travel abroad to get a cure.

The budget for 2023 for the Health Insurance Fund, HIF, is 8 million euros, while acting director Bujar Kaçuri says they have surplus money left from the budget. Meanwhile, the Fund has a debt of about 30 million euros accumulated since its establishment in 2014.

That gap prompted a fierce debate between the former director of HIF Fatmir Plakiqi and Kaçuri regarding the debt, the budget surplus and the management of HIF on the KallxoPërnime show.

The program for medical treatment abroad has generated much discussion during the past year as journalistic investigations highlighted the misuse of public money. 

Within the Fund a special program covers the costs of treatment outside public health institutions in the country for all citizens who need it.

But Plakiqi said that the surplus highlighted poor management of the Health Fund. “He [Kaçuri] says that the Fund has debts of around 30 million, but on the other hand the Fund has surplus funds. You were able to pay the debt,” said Plakiqi.

The former director of HIF said that the Clinical and University Hospital Service of Kosovoand the Ministry of Health put the Fund in debt.

Kaçuri said that those budget surpluses have gone to the state purse. He said that during the verification of patients’ cases by the management board, a multitude of violations were observed.

According to him, there has been an increase in prices and non-compliance with the criteria derived from the administrative instruction, which have been recorded for investigation by the police. journalist Valon Fana in KallxoPërnime said the burden of finding a hospital for recovery outside public health institutions falls on the patients’ families, so they go to agencies that have been opened near the HIF.

“What we have seen in analysis of the legislation for the Health Insurance Fund is a ‘mountain’ of problems. The entire burden of finding a private hospital falls to the patient,” Fana said.

Regarding the agreement between Kosovo and Turkey to send 100 patients for treatment to Turkey at no additional cost, Fana said that number has not been met every time.

On the other hand, Kaçuri said that due to the debts created in the Fund, Turkey had decided not to implement the agreement anymore.

About 94 per cent of the budget for treatment abroad goes to Turkish hospitals.

In the past year, media reported suspicions of abuses with the treatment of patients abroad. In July last year, the government appointed the board of the HIF.

14/02/2023 - 15:37

14 February 2023 - 15:37

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.