Government wants to nationalize privately-owned health providers

2005 2005-07-20T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Supreme Economic Court of Belarus preliminarily heard the case filed by the independent health provider Nordin against Ministry of Health. The management of the private company requests that the decision taken by the ministry to deprive Nordin of the health provision license be recognized as ungrounded. The reason for such decision was the alleged violation of the licensed activity as regards the failure to re-attest some of the doctors employed.

The procedure of preliminary hearings in court provides for peaceful resolution of the conflict before the case can be sent to court. However, in the event of Nordin, the expected reconciliation did not occur. The first legal hearing in the case of the privately owned company Nordin against the Ministry of Health will take place in the Supreme Court on 22 July.

As is known from official sources, only this year the Ministry of Health has annulled 23 licenses for various reasons. Part of these enterprises are fully privately-run, there are some Belarusian-American companies and several joint ventures. Some of them were founded on the basis of state-run institutions so they viewed the deprivation of licenses in a different way. For example, the joint venture Belpharm refused to comment this topic. Other structures do not provide any commentary as well. But some private companies do not agree with the accusations by the Ministry and attempt to prove them wrong in court.

Apart from Nordin and Ecomedservice, Optimed is also suing against the Ministry of Health. The license of this company was liquidated for the same reasons as their colleagues' – for failure to meet requirements placed on the qualification of the specialists. In taking the license away, the ministry thought it possible to act in violation of the accepted license cancellation rules. The head doctor of Optimed Tatsiana Halinouskaya says: "We did not receive a warning, the director was not invited to the session of the ministry board, because when they deprive you of your license, they have to invite the company management. We received this notification by mail, and only a week after the thing happened. This means that we continued with our activity without knowing our health provision license had been taken away. Our specialists have a high level of qualification. Before that there was a check-up from the Ministry, and they gave us a certificate to this end. So we do not understand why they still decided to take the license away. So we hope the court will clear us and allow us to continue with our work".

In the situation around the private health providers, the specialists underscore the economic calculations of the authorities, ad also see political persecution against the non-state structures. Below is the opinion of the economist Leanid Zlotnikau: "Both economy and politics are behind such actions. Because all that is beyond the governmental control, all that gives profit to private individuals – all this is not tolerated. What is happening may be called creeping nationalization. First thing. Second, they plan to hand over these paid services to the state-run policlinics. This is, so to say, redistribution of financial flows. This money that can be taken for clients, the authorities want to take in state-run policlinics".

It is known that during her speeches the Minister of Health Ludmila Pastayalka repeatedly mentioned plans for a network of fully fee-based state-run medical centers.