Hospital rooms to be ‘rented’

In a bid to earn revenues for Greece?s public coffers, the Health Ministry said Tuesday that as of next week, private insurance companies will be able to rent rooms in state hospitals for their customers.

It is the first time that a synergy between public hospitals and private insurance firms will be created in Greece. Up to 556 beds in hospital rooms in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki will be made available to the companies.

Ethniki Insurance, Alico, EFG Eurolife, ING, Interamerican, Allianz and Agrotiki Insurance signed the deal yesterday and another 11 firms have declared an interest in taking part in the scheme.

?No hospital that is short of beds has been included in the program,? Health Minister Andreas Loverdos said in response to a question about whether the initiative represented a move to privatize the health service.

?This is simply an effort to bring revenues into the National Health System, nothing more.? He did not give an estimate of how much the government hopes to raise each year from the scheme.

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