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The government allocates more than € 220 million to cover emergency health care costs

25. March 2020 - 0:00

Tallinn, Stenbock House, March 25, 2020 - The government will provide the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) with at least EUR 200 million over three months to cover the extraordinary costs of coronavirus. In addition, over € 20 million has already been earmarked for the purchase of personal protective equipment, respirators and coronavirus testing capabilities. More than € 7 million is channelled to cover the first three days of sick leave.

“Both the current and the coming weeks are decisive in the fight against coronavirus. In order to ensure that our healthcare system remains ready, we have decided to provide the EHIF with an additional budget of more than EUR 200 million. This money is intended to support the work of our hospitals and doctors, ambulance staff, nurses and other health professionals in exceptional circumstances,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

“We have also decided to reimburse the first three days of sick leave between March and May. This is important so that our people can maintain as much of their income as possible in the current difficult economic climate,” the Prime Minister added.

"In addition to the amended emergency measures, the COVID-19 government commission has decided to provide a total of EUR 200 million for emergency health care expenditure to contain the coronavirus and for the treatment of COVID-19 patients over the next three months," said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik. "The additional money will cover the extraordinary expenses of hospitals, ambulances and general practitioners from the beginning of March to the end of May."

The largest part of the extraordinary expenditure in the health care system is the need for additional hospital and specialist medical care funding to the extent of EUR 150 million over the next three months, primarily related to ensuring the availability of intensive care services. This includes both additional staff costs and medical expenses. Due to COVID-19, an increase of shifts, the opening of separate COVID-19 wards, and extraordinary salary increases for frontline staff in health care institutions are foreseen. Hospital treatment costs are increasing due to increased use of medicines and other materials.

It will also compensate for the additional costs of coronavirus, both in primary care and in emergency medical care, and additional money will be channelled into expanding the nation's stock of medicines in connection with a possible surge in hospitalization.

The additional costs of paying sick leave and care benefits are also covered. More than 7 million will be channelled to cover the first three days of sick leave, from the beginning of emergency until the end of May.