Bulgaria Moves to Merge Military, Interior Hospitals in 2012Health | June 13, 2011, Monday // 17:03| views
MMA Director Gen. Prof. Stoyan Tonev (right) and Defense Minister Anyu Angelov (left) took part in a discussion on the proposed merger of the Military Medical Academy (MMA) and the Ministry of Interior Hospital (MIH). Photo by BGNES
The Military Medical Academy (MMA) and Ministry of Interior Hospital (MIH) in Sofia will be merged as of January 01, 2012, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced during a round table discussion Monday at the Council of Ministers.
Commenting on the proposed merger, Defense Minister Anyu Angelov said that MMA was piling debts because the Interior Ministry and the President's Office were not paying for the treatment of officers of the National Security Service (NSS), the State Agency for National Security (SANS) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
According to MMA Director Gen. Prof. Stoyan Tonev, the medical institution was also facing a problem with securing money for food because, despite the equal terms of hospital accommodation, defense and military officials had to pay BGN 5.10 for food per day, while civilians were to pay BGN 2.10 for food per day, leaving the hospital to cover the gap.
Around 30% of MMA's patients are officials of the interior and the defense ministries, the remaining 70% being civilians.
In the words of Tonev, one of the reasons behind the merger is to allow Interior Ministry officials to use all sanatoriums and clinics of the MMA. Apart from that, civilians will be entitled to treatment on the premises of the MIH, he explained.
In the course of the discussion, doctors from MIH voiced concerns that the merger would reduce the hospital's headcount.
"The social status of Interior Ministry workers will not be affected by the merger of the MMA and the MIH", Minister Tsvetanov declared, adding that the step was aimed at ensuring better medical service for them whilst boosting the efficiency of the two institutions.
Tsvetanov further informed that the details surrounding the merger would be determined at the next meetings.
"The Interior Ministry has around 50 000 employees. We are driven by the one and only goal of improving medical service for them", he emphasized. He vowed to solve the problem with payments for officials of the interior and defense ministries, saying that one option would be for the Defense Ministry to take charge of the MIH.
The MMA is 12 times bigger than the MIH and its capacity allows for each patient to receive medical aid within 40 minutes. The structure of MMA encompasses 5 hospitals, 6 sanatoriums and 640 health care units stationed all over Bulgaria. Its total headcount includes 3 262- 720 doctors, a nursing staff of 880 and 320 laboratory analysts, the remaining being technical staff. The hospital has a total of 2500 beds, it was visited by 466 000 patients in 2010, 18% of them being Interior Ministry personnel.
MIH has 300 beds with an average occupancy rate of 60%. Access for civilian patients is about to be increased.
At present, MMA has debts amounting to BGN 16 M, while MIH owes a total of BGN 217 000.
Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Dyankov has pledged to provide BGN 8 M for the overhaul of the MIH by end-September.