SK+MED draws attention to the risks of the proposed debt relief
Bratislava, June 27, 2017 – The Slovak Association of Suppliers of Medical Devices (SK+MED) highlights the risks of the debt relief process announced last week by the Ministry of Health and Finance at a press conference and therefore recommends that suppliers of special medical material consider carefully their participation in this process. SK+MED calls on the state to hold further negotiations. The Association wants late payment fees as well as interest on late payments increase debt claims against hospitals and recover them through court proceedings.
SK+MED therefore recommends to its members to enforce contractual penalties and interest together with the debt and to recover it through legal proceedings and also through execution or claim settlement to specialized third parties. At the same time, the Association has initiated proceedings before the European Commission since the Slovak Republic does not comply with the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against late payments in commercial transactions that commits to the payment of public debts in a maximum of 60 days.
„In a situation where someone asks our members for a 20% discount on a three-year and older debt claim, which was created on regulated, categorized and tendered prices, we are pushed to an economic bankruptcy,“ says Patrícia Kubicová, the Executive Director of SK+MED.
Debt consolidation of claims that are less than two years old is actually unapproachable, and for the first three months of 2017, claims after maturity of members of the SK+MED Association have risen by another 30 million euros.
„In December 2017, when merely 30% of our claims would be settled under ideal conditions, there is a new EUR 90 million and a 3-year overdue debt created. The discount demanded by the Ministry is beyond economic reality, “ Patrícia Kubicová, the Executive Director of SK + MED, adds.
We wait for an average invoice to be settled for 750 days in Slovakia. It is not possible for us to have prices for medical material at or below the level of, for example, the Czech Republic, where the average maturity of an invoice is 120 days, and at the same time granting the state an extra 20% discount on unsettled debt. This set-up is only suitable for speculators who have negotiated non-market prices in the past, however it badly hurts the Slovak healthcare.
As of March 31, 2017, the total hospital debt to SK+MED members has run up to EUR 183 million and another EUR 23 million in fees and penalties. We estimate that the total hospital debt to SK+MED members will be, by the end of 2017, far higher – up to EUR 260 million, unless suppliers do not settle their claims with a third party.
We are again calling on the Slovak Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic to allow the representatives of SK+MED to comment on the concept of debt relief at this stage and allow for these comments to be taken into account.
The Slovak Association of Suppliers of Medical Devices (SK+MED) is an association that currently represents the interests of 30 suppliers of medical devices active in Slovakia. It is a full member of MedTech Europe, an international healthcare organization with a registered office in Brussels that unites national associations of suppliers and producers of medical devices and technology from Europe.