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Small birthing units to be liquidated?

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Approximately 80 birthing units in Poland may soon have to be liquidated. All because the NFZ wants to introduce new valuation rules. They will reward maternity wards that accept at least 400 births a year, reports Menedzer Zdrowia.

The NFZ will pay for the effect, not the procedure

The Ministry of Health plans to change the financing model for the entire healthcare system. Instead of a fee-for-service, a fee for the health effect is to be introduced. For example, from January 2020, a primary care physician (POZ), who sends a patient from a risk group to preventive examinations, will be able to count on a 15% higher capital rate for this patient. The changes will also include gynaecology and obstetrics.

The National Health Fund plans that gynaecological and obstetrics wards that will accept at least 400 births a year will be able to count on a financial bonus. The Fund does not hide the fact that it wants to encourage providers to concentrate their services. This is to be helped by increasing the valuation for institutions that perform the largest number of given procedures. The National Health Fund counts on the fact that the hospitals located several kilometres away from each other will resign from some branches in favour of hospitals in neighbouring districts.

Maternity wards are already being suspended

According to Menedzer Zdrowia, up to 80 gynaecological and obstetrics wards in Poland may be unprofitable. This is the result of demographic decline and a small number of deliveries. In extreme cases, a ward receives only one birth a week. However, due to legal requirements, every maternity ward has to be an emergency room, which means that the personnel (including the labour unit) has to be available 24 hours a day.

Often, maintaining such branches is a matter of ambition of local self-government, although it does not make any medical or economic sense. Some branches are already suspended (permanently or temporarily). This was the case, among others, with the Prudnickie Centrum Medyczne and the Powiatowe Centrum Zdrowia in Kluczbork.

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