The impact of the economic and financial crisis on the health care sector in Lithuania

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The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of the current economic and financial crisis on the health care sector as well as to present information regarding the policy measures taken or planned by the Lithuanian Government in order to mitigate its effects in Lithuania. Materials and methods. Comparative analysis using the data from January-June 2008 and 2009 were used in order to compare the changes of the indicators before and during financial economic crisis. The structural set of indicators in three groups of possible impact was assessed: financial impact, indicators of quality of life impact and political decisions impact. Results. Financial impact. Health care budget was decreased by 6,4 percent as it was approved for 2009, but has remained the same as in 2008. Cost-sharing and out-of-pocket payments for health care have increased. Funding of health prevention and promotion programs was reduced but in comparison with 2008 even 4 mln LT more is planned for those programs. The first reduction of the budget for health care institutions was performed under the strategy not to increase an unemployment rate. The first reduction of health care budget made minimal impact to the access to health care: total number of treated in the hospitals patients have increased by 1 percent. State health insurance fund reports that the services of long term care was increased by 3.4 percent. Impact for the quality of life indicators. The death rate is decreasing from the most courses of deaths by 3 percent except suicide and circulatory system’s diseases. Avoidable deaths courses show positive tendency. Reduction in numbers of patients death with communicable diseases by 25 percent also show that there were no critical impact in public health sector as one of the indicator of social economic life changes.
Some indicators as increased numbers of acute myocardial infarct and overall cardiovascular system diseases as well as some mental disorders have to be in a special attention analyzing future changes and tendencies. Total medical leave days remained the same. Impact of political decisions. In early 2009 the reform the health insurance system by introducing separate health insurance contribution was performed. The reform social and health insurance systems during the period 2009-2010 has started by including persons still not involved in them and unify the principles of involvement of persons in the system under equal conditions. Some political decisions concerning alcohol consumption, tobacco and accidents prevention were accepted. Tax on alcohol and cigarettes were increased, regulation for purchasing was introduced prohibiting selling tobacco products to young people. Smoking was prohibited in cafeterias and public places. There is evidence that quality of life indicators were improving due to the alcohol policy measures in the country. The plan of major restructuring of health care institutions is under preparation now. The plan for rationalization of the price policy and improvement of the access to medicines was approved by the Ministry of Health. Reorganization of public health and state institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Health is currently under implementation. There are plans to introduce supplementary health insurance. Conclusion. The impact of financial and economic crisis and the first round of economic stability measures for the two quarters of 2009 had very small impact for health care sector, but the plans of health care sector restructuring might affect it in future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
JournalVisuomenės sveikata = Public health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009



  • Economic crisis
  • Quality of the life indicators

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