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Health costs Specialist doctors to suffer drop in income

Interior Minister Berset explaining the planned changes to the medical billing system


The government plans to adapt the billing system for medical treatments by specialist physicians in a bid to further reduce health costs in Switzerland.

Announcing the plan on Wednesday, Interior Minister Alain Berset said the measures were aimed at saving about CHF700 million ($703 million) annually and create more transparency for patients.

The current tariff systemexternal link has an annual volume of CHF10 billion.

Berset said the measures, which are subject to a three-month political consultation procedure, were necessary as the doctors, therapists, hospitals and health insurers had failed to agree a reform over the past seven years.

However, the government had no intention of extending its subsidiary role in the reform.

“The reform is not aimed at reducing medical services for patients,” he added. “But all players in the health sector have a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to our well-functioning health system and that it remains affordable.”

Medical database

In a first reaction, the hospital association has rejected the reform plans, while the doctors and health insurers voiced strong reservations, notably about the planned savings.

In a related move, the cabinet decided to implement a law in mid-April designed to improve the exchange of patients’ information between therapists, doctors, hospitals and medical laboratories in a shared database.

The law was approved by parliament in 2015 in an effort to improve the efficiency of health services.

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