By Damon Mitchell • 03 April 2020 • 14:23
Image of a market in the Malaga municipality of Mijas.
Credit: [email protected]
THE Spanish private healthcare has asked the government to finance 75 per cent of its usual billing for two months after having stopped its ordinary activity to attend to the coronavirus epidemic. The employers’ association ASPE understands that having paralysed their source of income, the centres need “urgent measures that allow the viability of private hospitals and clinics,” which translates into that “specific line of financing.”
This week the sector has calculated that it has 2,200 unoccupied ICU beds and demanded that the autonomous communities use these units more after the decree of the State of Alarm. However, private centres in Madrid, La Rioja or Catalonia do not have the capacity to relieve pressure on ICUs in public hospitals right now, ASPE has acknowledged.
“At this time the maximum collaboration with the public health system is beyond doubt,” said the management. Even so, the director of the private health lobby, Institute for the Development and Integration of Health (Idis), Marta Villanueva, declared that “private health can last at most six weeks in this situation There is a risk of bankruptcy of the private healthcare network” and he specified that by not taking urgent action “implies that no type of income is being generated. Now it is clear what would happen without private healthcare.”
Employers have demanded “immediate financial liquidity of health centres” that, in addition to financing that 75 per cent of their turnover, includes the exemption in the payment of Social Security fees and withholdings of the IRPF for its workers, the postponement or bonus of the IBI of their properties and of the corporation tax, the subsidy for purchases of sanitary material such as masks and gloves, soft credits with the guarantee of the State to pay suppliers and a plan of direct aid to the centres involved in the care of patients with coronavirus.
The truth is that this position contrasts with the strategy adopted by the group of private hospitals HM – 17 hospitals and 21 polyclinics in Spain – which pressured its workers to spend their annual holiday leave, take leave of absence or cut days to lower their payroll bill.
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