This content was published on June 09, 2022 – 15:36
Laboratory analysis prices will be reduced by 10% starting August 1, 2022. This reduction applies until the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) has checked and adjusted the prices for each analysis. That saves $140 million annually.
The Federal Office of Public Health (BASP) wrote on Thursday that the EFI had to check the current tariffs for each analysis individually so that they were calculated sensibly according to business principles. A process that should last until 2025.
This 10 percent reduction is introduced as an interim solution so that the price reduction takes place within a reasonable period of time, the BAG explains. It will be revoked once the DPI has completed its review.
The BAG justified this decision with lower unit costs due to larger volumes and increased automation. “In addition, the purchase price of materials for the laboratories is disproportionate compared to neighboring countries,” he adds.
According to the press release, the DFI is also considering other linear price cuts, while “allowing labs ample time to implement.” It should be noted that the general practitioner analyzes are excluded from the linear reduction and the differentiated review.
“Incomprehensible and unacceptable”
The decision of the BAG was “incomprehensible and unacceptable”, reacted the umbrella organization of the Swiss hospitals H+ on Thursday afternoon and demanded “that we refrain from a hasty price adjustment without risk analysis”. This “linear decline will mainly be on the backs of hospitals and clinics,” she writes in a press release. The umbrella organization also condemns “the unequal treatment between the outpatient area of hospitals and medical practices”.
H+ also attacks the weakness of the study that compares Swiss prices with those abroad, a study on which the Association of Swiss Health Insurance Funds and price regulators rely. “If you take into account the correct tariffs, the purchasing power and the cost structure in the comparison countries, there are hardly any differences. And if you look at the decentralized healthcare structure that is specific to Switzerland, which is politically desired and brings great benefits to patients, the gap is close to 0%,” says Umbrella.
Limited vitamin D testing
A Health Technology Assessment (ETS) has also shown that a revision of the tariff for the determination of vitamin D saves around 30 million additional francs per year, the FOPH determined. From July 1, 2022, the reimbursement of costs for such analyzes by the compulsory health insurance (AOS) will be limited to proven or suspected diseases due to vitamin D deficiency.
Preventive analyzes are excluded more clearly than before and the frequency of control and follow-up analyzes will also decrease, the BAG has determined. This decision was made on the basis of national and international experience, guidelines and recommendations and in consultation with professional associations.
From July 1, 2022, the AOS will take over the “UV crosslinking” treatment for progressive keratoconus (thinning and bulging of the cornea of the eye with loss of visual acuity). With the aim of strengthening the cornea with UV light, this treatment has been excluded from compulsory insurance since August 1, 2008 for safety reasons. However, a report commissioned by the BAG has shown that the treatment is safe and effective.
Other changes to the Ordinance on Compulsory Health Insurance Benefits and its appendices will come into force on July 1, 2022 and others at later dates.
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