Latvian Minister of Finance doesn’t understand how existing healthcare financing model works

Looking at the existing healthcare financing model, Latvian Minister of Finance Arvils Ašeradens admits he doesn’t understand how it works, because medical workers who have similar jobs sometimes have different pay.
The minister said at the “Vision in action: healthcare built on values and innovations” held on Friday, the 1st of December that the financing model needs to be reorganised in a logical and comprehensive manner, because, when compared to neighbouring countries, wages in Latvia exceeds those paid to their medics.

“I can understand medical workers with higher pay and medical workers with lower pay. They do their jobs, but the financing they receive is different.

This is an enormous problem in the system, and it’s demotivating. We have to understand what’s happening and how much needs to be done. But here is no good model at the moment,” said Ašeradens.
According to him, if a value-based result in health care was paid for, then society would benefit from it, because the sector isn’t interested in manipulation, but in a wholly or partially healthy patient who can live a full life and return to the economic cycle.
Looking at the healthcare system in Latvia, Ašeradens said he sees fundamental problems. Population numbers are going down, life expectancy in Latvia is one of the shortest in the European Union, and efficiently lived life years are far from what people want. On top of that, there is no organised patient data system.
“I would like to see us present clear goals and how to reach them. It’s not our [Ministry of Finance] duty to tackle analysis how many general practitioners are there in each parish. We have plenty of work. The system is just too chaotic. Normally I would see a healthcare policy developed by the Ministry of Health. We also need to have a financing manager independent from the ministry, as well as very efficient management in university hospitals with a high-level management in healthcare,” said the Minister of Finance.
He said most countries have an independent financier of the healthcare sector with their own programmes focused on securing results. Currently Latvia does not have a clear goal or a means of achieving it.
“We’re trying to free up money reserved in funds. The Ministry of Finance needs to agree to programmes. We’re trying to analyse them – if they are good or bad. This isn’t how it should be. The organisation needs to understand where the revenue comes from – insurance, budget contributions or something else. Most countries have that – we just lack the courage to create it,” said the minister.
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