Title: Public policy changes in public funding of family doctors in Slovenia

Authors: Katja Triller Vrtovec

Addresses: European Faculty of Law, New University, Slovenia

Abstract: In Slovenia, patients report difficulties registering with a family doctor (FD), even in dense urban areas, since the patient-to-FD ratio is well below the EU average and not improving. Moreover, public primary healthcare providers (PCP) report difficulties with the financial liquidity that endangers the regular payment of employed FDs' salaries and constantly call for additional budget funding in the healthcare sector, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It is therefore questionable, whether or not the PCP, which perform economic activity under the EU standards, respect human rights of all the stakeholders in the healthcare sector. Therefore, in this paper, I analyse the existing regulations on the public financing of FDs in Slovenia that seems to pose significant problems to patients' timely access to health care and does not facilitate the FDs' goal of delivering the patients' constitutional right to healthcare services. I discuss some better alternative solutions that would promote the patients' right to effective primary healthcare, attract more medical students to specialise in family medicine and consolidate the fiscal sustainability of the primary healthcare sector, which is at grave risk of collapse due to a dysfunctional healthcare payment and delivery system.

Keywords: family medicine; general practitioners; family doctors; primary healthcare; healthcare providers; Slovenia; National Health Insurance Institute; public funding; patients' rights; health insurance provider; healthcare reform; public policy change; administrative burdens; bureaucracy; bureaucratisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2022.123703

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 2022 Vol.9 No.4, pp.345 - 365

Received: 31 May 2020
Accepted: 12 Aug 2020

Published online: 01 Jul 2022 *

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