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Expensive care

Health treatment costs under scrutiny

The government plans to increase efforts to examine the use of certain medical treatments and technologies in a bid to reduce health costs.

 Interior Minister Alain Berset said a special programme for health technology assessment would be set up over the next few years to systematically re-evaluate treatments and services covered by the mandatory health insurance. 

“The aim is to improve efficiency and efficacy of the health system while maintaining a high quality. It is estimated that savings of up to 20% of total health costs are possible,” Berset said. 

With its excellent but costly health system, Switzerland has for a long time hesitated to introduce controls due to a lack of financial resources, he added. 

In a first phase, the Federal Health Office is to re-evaluate knee arthroscopies, surgeries on the spine and clinical treatments of iron deficiencies. 

Berset said the planned measures infringed on the freedom of doctors and hospitals, but it was in line with demands by parliament which will have to approve the necessary funds of CHF7.5 million ($7.9 million) annually. 

As part of the government’s health policy, the Swiss authorities also set drugs prices and conduct regular reviews.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch



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