Healthcare Corruption: Funding Halted to Czech Hospitals After Arrests

Jaroslav Soukup

In a shocking move, the Ministry of Local Development (MMR) in the Czech Republic has halted the financing of projects from European grants to regional hospitals. This decision comes in response to the arrest of ten hospital managers. According to Seznam News, the total support that has been stopped is estimated at 959 million crowns.

The arrests took place due to suspicion that the detained healthcare facility heads were part of an organized criminal group. They are suspected of taking bribes for the assignment of specific public contracts. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) revealed on Monday that there is suspicion of corruption in purchasing hospital medical materials.

According to the EPPO, this criminal organization has been operating since 2022 and was created to systematically manipulate public contracts for medical needs for hospitals to benefit pre-selected suppliers. The damage caused to the European Union’s budget by the suspects of corruption during the purchase of materials for hospitals, as documented by the police, amounts to almost a million euros, or about 25 million crowns.

Medical equipment, including operating tables and devices for laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgeries, endoscopes, defibrillators, surgical drills, and ventilators, were among the items involved. The suppliers, who were predetermined, had the opportunity, according to the investigation, to participate in creating tender conditions in the public procurement management system before their announcement. Therefore, the contracts were tailor-made for these suppliers.

The board of the regional health hospital in Ústí nad Labem dismissed director Peter Malý from his function on the day of the intervention. The Vysočina Region Council is not planning to dismiss the director of Jihlava Hospital, Lukáš Velev. According to Governor Vítězslav Schrek (ODS and STO), anyone can be arrested, so it is not a reason for dismissal.