Romania will close down its county public health divisions and its public health insurance houses and reorganize them in regional units, in an attempt to cut some costs, according to Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu (in picture). He went on to say 2013 will be the year of big changes in the Romanian health sector, and that these yet unnamed changes already have political support.
The announced change will happen ‘in the following days’, and the statement came as a surprise as there were no previous hints about the idea. Romania has 41 counties and the capital Bucharest, where a regional health insurance house also exists. The existing health insurance houses and public health directorates will be turned into just eight regional offices. Half of the current staff – around 1,000 people – will be laid off, according to the Romanian media. The other half will be partially moved to the new regional directions and to the county councils which manage hospitals. It is claimed that the change will allow the ministry to save around 10 percent of its budget and redirect it to the patients.
The county health insurance houses are managed by the Romanian Health Insurance House, which has a yearly budget of around EUR 4 billion and which supports the financing of the health system in Romania though the health contributions raised from tax payers.
(photo source: gov.ro)