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NIK: Will investments in health work out for us?

MedExpress Team

Published June 4, 2024 09:22

NIK: Will investments in health work out for us? - Header image
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The system for evaluating investments in health care did not ensure that public money was spent economically or in accordance with the health needs of citizens. The reviewing bodies had no knowledge of the status of implementation and effects of investments. Most projects were implemented late, and changes were made in the material scope in the course, so that the final effect often differed from the original assumptions. As many as ¾ of the audited medical entities carried out investments without an opinion on them, and almost ⅓ of the investments were not implemented despite receiving a positive opinion. The inconsistency of the regulations caused treatment entities to apply for an advisability opinion for investments unrelated to the provision of health services.

The system for giving opinions on investments in health care was established in 2016. The opinion on the advisability of investments in health care was intended to ensure the development of the infrastructure necessary to secure access to guaranteed services, in response to the health needs of citizens. The system was also intended to help prevent oversupply in the local market for medical services. This is because in the years preceding the introduction of the new solutions, a spontaneous yet haphazard development of the market for health services was observed, which meant that the demand for these services was not met evenly throughout the country.

The findings of previous NIK inspections confirmed that investments in health care were not always well planned, and their potential opportunities were not utilized. Among other things, NIK found that the use of acquired medical devices was not fully utilized, despite obtaining a positive opinion on the advisability of their acquisition, even after the implementation of the investment evaluation system. It happened that the audited units acquired medical devices without obtaining such an opinion.

It should be noted that obtaining an opinion on the advisability of investment in health care is not mandatory in Polish law. No regulation conditions the carrying out of an investment with obtaining a positive opinion on its advisability. Instead, the regulations specify the negative consequences of the absence of such an opinion. Until the end of 2020, it resulted in the award of negative points in the proceedings for the conclusion of a contract for the provision of health care services with the National Health Fund. However, from 2021, the consequence is rejection of the offer in such proceedings. In addition, obtaining a positive opinion on the advisability of an investment may be a condition for receiving financial support for projects co-financed by EU funds or grants.

Key findings of the audit

From the beginning of 2018 to the end of July 2023, the provincial governors and the Minister ...

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