All is Well With Health Reforms

All is Well With Health Reforms All is Well With Health Reforms

Revenue for health reforms was not raised from public funds, but rather generated from the Targeted Subsidies Plan and the one percent contribution from the value-added tax earnings, Health Minister Hassan Hashemi said at the national meeting for overseeing the new medical tariff codes under the Health Reform Plan launched on May 5 this year.

Bagher Nobakht, strategic planning deputy of President Hassan Rouhani, the ministers of labor and welfare, head of the Medical Council, head of the Social Security Organization and other officials were present at the meeting, ILNA reported.

The minister lauded the pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies in helping make the plan “precise and efficient.’’

 Surgery Costs

Hashemi pointed to the regulation of surgery costs in the reform plan and said ‘’if prudent decisions had been made in advance, there would have been no need now to fix surgery rates in the tariff system.’’

He regretted that some surgeons and specialists received a meager monthly salary of only $500 and said the government has now made their pay “sensible in the new tariff system.” No doubt raising salaries was welcomed by a great majority of the medical fraternity all across the country, he noted.

The minister reiterated that the most difficult step of the health reforms – implementation of the new tariff codes, is well underway and said ‘’public feedback’’ is indispensible to the success of the plan. So far with the collaboration of the medical fraternity, there have not been too many complaints. The hotline 1690 is available for the people to have their say.

 Moving Out

Reacting to remarks by doctors who had threatened to leave the country and practice medicine abroad, he dismissed their claims as ‘’delusional.’’ He asked these physicians to take a long, hard look within themselves and understand that ‘’money is not everything.’’

In an interview with MNA Hashemi said ‘’I have been working in this noble profession for 20 years and I advise you to come to your senses and realize that no one is indispensible.’’ This happened in the past too when some doctors thought that if they went to Persian Gulf neighboring countries, “several patients will come their way, but this is warped thinking.’’    

While admitting that there might be some ‘’shortcomings’’ in the plan, despite the effort of the Medical Council and medical associations, he expressed hope that the implementation of the tariffs would pave the way for other professions to take similar steps in making their pricing transparent. He also hoped that contracts with private insurance companies in the coming year would make the reform plan ‘’work more smoothly.’’

 MP Extols Plan

Meanwhile, a member of the Majlis Education and Research Committee hailed the health reforms and said it is incumbent on everyone to regard the initiative as a ‘’jihad’’ and work for its success. Alireza Salimi said “prior to the reform plan, the exorbitant costs of health care had strained family finances.”  ‘’But with the plan in place, medical costs have been reduced and we are getting closer to the Supreme Leader’s words that a patient should suffer from nothing besides his or her illness,’’ he said, commending the minister for “the remarkable feat and defying the mafia that used to take advantage of patients.’’

Parliament is ready to show its support for the plan as it did last year by allocating a special budget to health care. ‘’ We are ready once more to give the health minister thumbs up to continue with his plans,’’ he said.

Calling for more support for the reform plan he said “although some venal doctors might try to sabotage it, we can get to the finish line by staying united in purpose.’’