The Ombudsman was alerted that the financing programme of 2023 apparently does not include vacationing of school children in medical colonies, participation in organised groups for the training of children and youths for the management of diseases and medical status, and the restorative rehabilitation of disabled persons. However, after an inquiry at the Ministry of Health, the Ombudsman received assurances that this would not be the case.
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The Ombudsman was notified that the Ministry of Health (MZ) hosted representatives of the National Council of Disabled Organizations of Slovenia, the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, and of Red Cross Slovenia, whom all expressed their concern regarding the financing of schoolchildren vacations in medical colonies and other such programmes, until the Decision Nr. U-I-223/20 by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia on 11.11.2022, financing was regulated under Articles 50, 51, and 52 of the Compulsory health insurance rules. The decision by the Constitutional Court seemingly eliminated the only valid legal basis for the financing and issuing of a tender, and, as such, speculations arose on how the aforementioned programmes would be implemented in 2023. Article 23 of the Health Care and Health Insurance Act (ZZVZZ) covers this particular issue but will only come into effect on 1.1.2024. Therefore fears that this could lead to a programme suspension in 2023 after decades of continuous implementation were warranted, affecting almost 10.000 persons.
The Ombudsman asked the Ministry of Health if the current regulations represent a hindrance to the implementation of the tendering procedures by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS) aimed at schoolchildren to vacation in medical colonies, to participate in organised groups for the training of children and youths for the management of diseases and medical status, and the restorative rehabilitation of disabled persons in 2023. Furthermore, he was interested to know if the MZ already took steps towards solving this issue or if and how they intend to do so in case these programmes really are jeopardised. The Ombudsman mentioned the possibility of finding a solution in the possible interpretations of current regulations that would allow the ZZZS the implementation of tendering procedures in 2023.
The MZ informed the Ombudsman that they are aware of the issues and have already taken steps to find a solution. Because the competent Ministry is aware of the issue and is eager to find a solution, the Ombudsman failed to find an option for further mediation in light of his jurisdiction and authority. However, he recommended that the complainants immediately notify him of any standpoints or behaviours contrary to the desired aim. 21.0-40/2022