Quarterly scientific journal

Health services financing. Its role in efficiency improvement

George Hatzipoulidis

Abstract

During the last decades, health expenses have presented tendencies of high increase in all countries. Economical limitation in combination with the huge increase in the demand of health services, have rendered the need for improvement and permanent control of health services financial system, imperative in Greece, too. Two are the main financial systems. The first one is based on the retrospective compensation of hospital benefits and the second one on the prospective compensation. In Greece, hospital financing takes place retrospectively on a base of daily medical expenses. This way of payment has been found that causes inflation and does not impose rational operation rules. All efforts to rationalize expenses, are supposed to be turned mainly to thedirection of the offer, that is to say to the health services producers, who influence directly the demand, as well as the offer. The most important measures that apply  in other countries are the application of new ways of health services financing, characterized by imposition of total, fixed, overall budgets. In this direction, it is imposed to create a suitable mechanism of data bases to measure the indicators of effectiveness and assess the real cost of hospital services. In order to have a good result, both the application and management of a modern financing model, based on a perspective budget, all sources of financing, and especially the government budget and social insurance, should be combined in order to constitute a common institution of financing. This, in combination with the essential general reformation of the Greek health system, is possible to bring spectacular changes in the operation of hospitals, creating a new culture of attendance and responsibility among the personnel and develop medicine based on clinical testimony and on shaped directives and regroupings (DRGs). However, particular attention during the application of the reformation of financing system, is required. This application, in order to be successful, should be organised and advanced with careful steps, putting down alternatively a lot of safety valves.

Keywords: Health services, financing, efficiency, budget

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