“A letter to the Minister of Health” by Zahal Levy – The expert opinion on Agerpres.ro – 03.12.2013
Attn: His Excellency, the Minister of Health
From July 2013 I have been in contact with your office in connection with both your request and that of your Government to build a number of first class and fully equipped hospitals.
From your staff I have managed to obtain the feasibility study ordered by your Ministry and produced by an outside provider. Reading the study, I have learnt about the urgent need to build a few hospitals in some cities which are currently suffering from a serious need for better medical care.
In light of letters of intent and conversations I had with your staff, I have managed to put together a team of investors and professionals who are interested in a partnership and teaming with the Government to execute what I hope will become a turning point in the healthcare system in Romania.
The project can effectively close down existing hospitals which fail to meet current requirements yet the quality staff can be recruited to the new hospitals which will be built.
The project should be based on a PPP structure (Private Public Partnership).
For the readers who are unfamiliar with the PPP concept: the private investor has to invest the needed funds for the project. The financing is substantial in terms of capital amount. The government must secure a long-term contract with the investors. The contract must specify the mutually agreed prices for each and every procedure that is offered by the hospital. The Partnership here is virtually a magical solution that can make this option a viable one for the Romanian public.
Comprehensive and high class private medicine can be equally offered to every citizen. This is a crucial point, as usually investments in healthcare made by private capital ends up with high class medicine available only to those who can afford to pay for it. I hope I have made the difference clear, and the PPP has been agreed to be set up to deliver cutting-edge medical care to both the wealthy and the poor.
There are investors who are willing to invest money in Romania, even in a sluggish economy associated with the “not-yet over crisis” that we are all dealing with. Foreign investment in Romania, as we all know, is not really common. We also know some of the major problems in the underfunded Romanian healthcare system are inefficiency, an old infrastructure, the consequences of a continual brain-drain and more.
“So why is the government not “grabbing” the opportunity?” I ask you as the Minister.
“Why is it so difficult for me to be involved in meetings, obtain promised documents, and get the project to run smoothly? Why is it that person that you have appointed to the project as points of contact do not see this issue as a top priority? Do you have better solutions for the sluggish healthcare system in Romania? Is a potential investment of 200 Million Euros in the healthcare system not interesting enough to label the matter as a high priority?
At the end of this story, maybe we shall not be able to move on with the project, and perhaps there are higher priorities on your desk. But with respect, and as someone who has already completed a number of important projects in the Romanian healthcare sector, I think that the least we could ask for is obtain an answer.
You see Minister, it is not for me that your answer is so important, it is important for Mrs. Popescu. She comes from a small village and she cannot afford medical treatment in a private hospital and at the local public hospital where she will be treated, they have a poor standard of healthcare available. She is the person who should be able to have access to free medical care and at an excellent standard too.
So Minister, Mrs. Popescu is waiting for your answer.
Are you there Minister?
The article was published on Agerpres.ro – the expert opinion column: