Healthcare Association: Gov’t officials’ claims of misusing public funds by COVID clinics without evidence “cause reputation damage”

Georgia: The Georgian-based non-governmental organisation Healthcare Association stated on Wednesday that government officers' recent claims of alleged misuse of public funds by medical venues were made without proof and "cause indiscriminate reputational damage" to all medical facilities in the nation.

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Healthcare Association: Gov't officials' claims of misusing public funds by COVID clinics without evidence
Healthcare Association: Gov't officials' claims of misusing public funds by COVID clinics without evidence "cause reputation damage"

Georgia: The Georgian-based non-governmental organisation Healthcare Association stated on Wednesday that government officers’ recent claims of alleged misuse of public funds by medical venues were made without proof and “cause indiscriminate reputational damage” to all medical facilities in the nation.

The NGO’s statement follows Georgian Health Minister Zurab Azarashvili’s comments, who on Wednesday claimed that the Government covered a part of the costs for empty beds at hospitals where COVID-19 treatment was provided during the pandemic and mentioned “problems” identified during state inspections at clinics, while also pointing to salary increases for hospital directors and their deputies by some venues.

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Azarashvili went on to say that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Georgian Government had paid for at least 40 % of empty beds at covid hospitals, and the total expenses amounted to about GEL 1 billion ($328mln/€310mln).

Moreover, the Healthcare Association responded by stating that the official’s statement could be “interpreted in various forms” and tarnish the reputation of “conscientious medical personnel who frequently fought to save someone else at the cost of their own lives,” as well as any medical institution that “takes great responsibility for state funds.”

The statement also highlighted the flaws of Georgia’s healthcare system, stating that it “clearly lags behind” those of developed nations, with the gap being “especially evident” during the pandemic period. 

Nonetheless, the hospital sector, which was on the brink of collapse during the crisis, was able to protect patients’ interests as much as possible from the detrimental effect and consequences of systemic shortcomings,” the NGO said.

“Pandemic management was an unknown to both the public and private sectors, and modest blunders would have been expected,” the Association said, emphasising the necessity of analysing related mistakes with the help of members of the healthcare community.

According to Azarashvili, 20 out of 125 healthcare institutions have been examined thus far, with issues identified and noted during the process. He also stated that if the concerns are not addressed, the venues may be temporarily suspended.

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