The staff of private diagnostic laboratories went on a three-day strike on Thursday, May 26, and for 3 days they will not offer their services free of charge to patients insured by the Greek National Health Insurance Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ.
The strike began on Thursday 26 May and will last until Saturday 28 May 2022. Patients covered by EOPYY may still receive health tests on strike days, but will be charged 100% of the cost of the tests.
Doctors and staff at private diagnostic centers continued to strike, despite a warning from Health Minister Thanos Plevris that he would punish them with a reduction in budget payments of about 1.5 million euros for each day of strike, i.e. the cost of examinations of the insured. The strike is supported by all the medical associations of the country.
The private medical center industry is complaining about the mandatory clawbacks imposed by Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ. At the same time, however, there are EOPYY claims for previous years, money they pay out in installments every month.
As indicated by the coordinating body of diagnostic laboratories and doctors of clinical laboratories, compensation in Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ. was introduced by legislation in 2013 as a cost containment and rationalization measure due to the special economic conditions in which Greece was at the time of the creditors’ bailout agreement.
Since then, no effort has been made to make a realistic assessment of the needs of citizens and fund Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ. the corresponding amount.
According to doctors and representatives of diagnostic laboratories, countless meetings have been held with the Minister of Health, who is well aware of the financial suffocation caused by the penalty. But on the part of the Deputy Minister of Finance there is no readiness for additional funding.
According to daily ethnosdiagnostic laboratory and clinic strikers demand, among other things:
- “Cutting” the artificial debts imposed on them by Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ. in 2013-2021.
- Reduction of clawback by a maximum of 10% by 2022 and the goal is its complete elimination, in parallel with the implementation of structural measures (diagnostic and treatment protocols, real-time monitoring).
- If there is no additional funding for primary health care, only those examinations that can be paid by Ε.Ο.Π.Υ.Υ should be carried out.
It should be noted that private laboratories and diagnostic centers play an important role in the Greek healthcare system, as patients often have to wait at least 2 weeks to get a blood test in public institutions such as hospitals, at least a month for a simple ultrasound, and more than 6 months for tomography.