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New criteria for state healthcare program

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 22
Georgia’s Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs says new criteria will be activated in the state-led Universal Healthcare Program from March 2017.

Davit Sergeenko stated at the press-conference that the Ministry was renewing the database of the program, which had not been updated since 2013.

Minister believes that this step will help both state and private insurance companies to better manage their finances as well as to offer higher-quality services to the patients.

The changes became even more necessary since the Minister announced that people using private insurance would no longer be able to get benefits from the state.

Previously, all Georgian citizens - insured or not - had access to the Universal Healthcare Program, which increased the state funding in this sector.

Moreover, Sergeenko stated that not all clinics will be allowed to be involved in the Universal Healthcare Program.

He said selective contracting would come into force, which means that the Ministry will co-operate only with high-standard hospitals and clinics which meet certain criteria.

First of all, selective contracting will apply to the mothers and children medical institutions.

“Additional criteria have been introduced in the system, which means that medical institutions of big cities will be able to switch to the program, if they meet these criteria,” the minister said.

One of Georgia's most successful Government-led initiatives, the Universal Healthcare Program was launched in February 2013 in order to serve all non-insured individuals who live in Georgia.

The government made changes to the Program in September 2014.

The changes mean that medical aid for the pensioners, children under five years of age, students and persons with disabilities will be administered by the state instead of private insurance companies.

Moreover, for the group of people mentioned above, the general waiting time for planned surgeries decreased from four months to two months.

The changes also enabled the recipients to choose which clinic they prefer to be treated at, instead of choosing from a short list offered by private insurance companies.

This year, the Health Ministry promised even more benefits to non-insured people, saying medical healthcare packages will be perfected, and soon free medicines will be included in the program for the most vulnerable part of the population.