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September 25, 2021

Health Ministry discriminates patients aged over 60

Senior citizens who need treatment abroad have ‘zero’ chances to survive.

Romanians who need treatment abroad will be evaluated through a new system that puts at disadvantage the patients of old age, those who have little chance to integrate in the society and those who need too expensive care.

The selection of candidates for treatment abroad, paid from the funds of the Health Ministry (MS), will rely upon new criteria, enforced via Minister Order 1.532/2009, signed by state secretary Dr. Cristian-Anton Irimie (nominated by Liviu Negoita for the position of Health minister) and published by the Official Gazette early this November. Under the previous regulations, if financing requests exceeded the allotted funds, selection was made on three criteria: risk of death posed by the evolution of the disease, estimated benefit for the patient, and the age of the person, without going into much detail. The new order brings clear priority criteria, based on points. This new evaluation has two setbacks for ageing patients: first, when the patient is aged over 60, and second, in terms of “estimated benefit of the treatment for society.” Estimating the benefit to society is perhaps the most cynical criterion brought by the new procedure, ‘Cotidianul’ newspaper writes. It has the following categories: “total social reintegration and professional reinsertion,” “partial” and “no professional reinsertion.”

“We had to introduce this criterion, though it is not eliminatory, because funds are limited. This has nothing to do with gender or political affiliation. All in all, if we have a patient aged 25 and another over 60, whom would you choose? The priority criteria in this regulation were necessary because abuse has been made in the past, which sent for treatment less recommended people, to the detriment of emergencies,” state secretary Irimia told ‘Cotidianul.’ Another criterion is the time spent on the waiting list. Thus, a patient who has been waiting the approval for over a year will have 20 points, meaning the maximum. Major risk to health – the first criterion in the order – is awarded 10 points.

The organizations that fight for patients’ protection will challenge the order in court. In its turn, the Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD) will look into the controversial order issued by the Health Ministry.

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