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We set legal bases for COVID-19 to become an endemic disease by spring

At today’s session, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the draft act on emergency actions to contain the spread and mitigate the consequences of the infectious COVID-19 disease in healthcare and submitted it to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia to be discussed in an urgent procedure. After the Government’s session, Minister of Health Danijel Bešič Loredan stated that the draft act "sets the legal bases for COVID-19 to become an endemic disease by spring."

The draft act combines some of the solutions from the intervention anti-coronavirus legislation packages 1 to 10 adopted during the previous Government’s term. "We deleted everything that is no longer necessary at this point and captured the essence," the Minister said.

The main solutions in the draft act include the establishment of legal bases for awarding the employees in the public health service network and the public social care network who work directly with COVID-19 patients, the provision of budget funds for self-testing with HAG tests and vaccinating against the infectious COVID-19 disease and influenza and oxygen treatment during extended hospitalisation, the definition of legal bases to establish outpatient clinics for patients without a selected personal general practitioner in order to enable accessibility to health service to all insured persons, a clearer definition of beneficiaries and of the procedure for exercising the right to monetary compensation for the damage incurred due to the vaccination against COVID-19 or administration of a medicinal product for the treatment of COVID-19, the provision of additional funds for the tasks in public health implemented by the National Institute of Public Health in connection with COVID-19, the provision of budget funds for additional 70 specialisations in clinical psychology, a bonus for choosing specialisation in family medicine, a change in the payment method for absence from work due to isolation based on confirmed SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, the provision of funds for microbiological research of sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 genome and monitoring the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater and detailed characterisation of variant viruses, the extension of hospitalisation for the needs of providing healthcare, physiotherapy and occupational therapy for persons who have recovered from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cannot return to their home environment after a completed hospital treatment due to their inability to take care of themselves, and other measures.

With the intention to shorten waiting times and reduce the number of patients waiting, the draft act also anticipates a new source of financing of the health services implemented, which have already been defined for the purpose of the national tender for 2021 and 2022 but were not utilised. For the implementation of these health services, the managements of public health institutions were also enabled to pay accordingly the health professionals who are prepared to provide more services, including outside their regular hours.