Minister Filipche makes contract with Zhan Mitrev without public debate

Minister Venko Filipche (middle). Photo: Website of the Government of the RM

 

Talking about the public-private partnership regarding the Children Cardiac Surgery Department, in a TV debate on 29 November 2018, Minister of Health Dr. Venko Filipche said:

Filipche: It is a process that helped us develop the feasibility studies that aim to check the viability of that new system. We want to see whether the same amount of money invested in some of health system’s branches – certain specialties, such as the children’s cardiac surgery department or a service such as the Medical Emergency service… can be improved if the funds are used differently, more efficiently and more effectively. Such models were implemented in some of the developed European countries and we want to see if we can implement them at home… My point is, we will give it a try in terms of analyzing the model. Hence the announcement. We haven’t defined it yet…

Vasikj: How long would it take go finish these two studies… for the children’s cardiac surgery department and for the Medical Emergency service?

Filipche: We can’t tell. But the point is: As soon as they are done, we shall begin a public debate. We want all experts to take part. The health system has lawyers, economists, health insurance, experts in the field, experts with great deal of experience in the current system… So, there are no final deadlines. Of course, we are opening the processes of a public debate.

[Source: Топ тема на ваша страна – др. Венко Филипче, date: 29 November 2018]

 

EXPLANATION:

Some 40 days ago, the Minister of Health announced the possibility for public-private partnership regarding the Children Cardiac Surgery Department in terms of the surgeries, some of which are performed at the Mother Theresa University Clinic Center and some abroad. Ten days afterwards, he announced the possibility for public-private partnership regarding the Medical Emergency Service and seven or eight days ago he restated these possibilities and options.

On 4 December 2018, in a press conference at the Government, Dr. Venko Filipche told the press that a decision has been made on public-private partnership regarding the Children Cardiac Surgery Department with Skopje’s Zan Mitrev Clinic.

So what’s not right here? The details are the same, more or less. The differences between the first announcement as of 26 October 2018 and the second one as of 28 November 2018 pertained to the model only – whether the entire team of doctors and nurses will be transferred to Zhan Mitrev Clinic or not. Additionally, Filipche’s four announcements were congruous that the funds that are being allocated from the Health Insurance Fund will remain totally the same.

Minister’s inconsistency, however, is related to the manner of conducting the analysis. Whether there will be just regular meetings and exchange of opinions and numbers with the involved – doctors, nurses, Health Insurance Fund – Ministry of Health, Zhan Mitrev or a feasibility study instead.

In his last appearance on Telma TV on 29 November 2018, Filipche talked about a feasibility study, without a doubt. He pointed out that it’s a printed analysis, and furthermore he said that after all the details have been obtained, broad public debate will be started.

But then, the public yesterday (December 4th 2018) was briefed that “we have made a decision to extend the contract with Zan Mitrev Clinic as of next year, which has been performing cardiac surgeries on adults and children for years, by including the children with most serious cardiac diseases that were treated at the Children Surgery Clinic”. This statement was followed by the elaboration on the reasons (click here).

Among other things Filipche mentioned, he said that, “on average, the Fund provides nearly a million euros per annum for health services at the Children Cardiac Surgery Department of the domestic clinic, while nearly 20 children per annum on average are sent abroad for surgeries. Depending on the seriousness, one surgery costs 15 to 20 thousand euros on average, and we reach the amount of 300 to 400 thousand euros which have been provided by the Fund for treating the youngest of patients over the past few years”.

Since we are dealing with a significant amount of money and due to the fact that plenty of details remain unknown to the public, including the actual price of surgeries abroad (most of the children were sent to Sofia), Truthmeter is able to assess the following:

  • A feasibility or other study on this entire public-private partnership regarding the Children Cardiac Surgery Department hasn’t been published. This may not be a law-stipulated obligation, but it would be a public document and the first thing you read on Ministry of Health’s website is the word “transparency”;
  • Not a single, let alone a broad public debate, has been opened regarding this issue that is supposed to be based on the findings of the analysis, study or whatever or on other elements or cognizance.

How on earth is it possible in just 5 days after the Minister said “helped us develop a feasibility study” and added “we will give it a try in terms of analyzing the model” and also pointed out that the model hasn’t been defined (“we haven’t defined it yet”), announced a public debate (“we shall begin a public debate”, “we are opening the processes of a public debate”) so all the experts can participate – all of a sudden everything Filipche spoke about is completed 5 days later (including a weekend), and the decision has been made. It is correct that some 40 days ago Minister Filipche stated that such possibility is being considered, but back then there was no sign of the feasibility study, analysis of the model, public debate. All of that was mentioned 5 days ago and was said it will be done in the future, and now, as of yesterday, the decision is already made. How on earth is that possible? When was the feasibility study developed, the analysis conducted and the public debate held? Where are the results of these three activities?

Owing to the aforesaid facts, Filipche’s statement quoted above is deemed false.

 

SOURCES:

 

Assessed by: Teo Blazhevski

 

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.