Fewer patients received medical services because of pandemic restrictions

In some areas of Hargita County’s medical system, budgets have considerably decreased, meaning substantially fewer patients got into the system than in the years before the pandemic, according to the yearly report of the county’s Health Insurance Fund. The report also stated that as a consequence of the measures taken last year, access to hospital care for chronically ill and acute patients was obstructed. The impact this has had on the health of patients is not yet known.

Free and supported prescriptions, medical equipment and the cost of dental care decreased the most in the last year versus 2019, with drops of 11, 14 and 27 percent, respectively.

In the case of medicines, the sum of the price support dropped to RON 45.7 million from RON 51.2 million in 2019; this indicates that fewer people went to the hospital and fewer had the courage to go to the doctor. There were fewer problems in the case of patients who were previously diagnosed, as they could get their prescriptions through remote consultations as well. Compared to previous years, fewer acute and chronic patients were diagnosed as well than in previous years. Unfortunately, this will have a negative effect, as any illness not treated in time can become chronic.

In the case of dental care, the reason for the decrease is that last year, during the state of emergency, dentists could not even function at all for three months. Dental care covered by state health insurance was RON 1.7 million in the county versus RON 2.3 million in 2019.

In 2020, money used by hospitals for services including medicine, food, parking and building maintenance was 15.9 percent of their total budget, with the remainder being rent-related. In other years, the cost of services amounted to around 30 percent of the total budget.

All in all, the number of hospital services and their value decreased, but several other costs were paid for by the Health Insurance Treasury: for example, danger pay.

The value of the total budget used by hospitals compared to other years did not really change due to the fact that hospitals got their amounts even if they accomplished less.

Featured image: minitippek.hu


Author: Blanka Székely