Hospitals Strengthen Same-day Care

Having surgery in the morning and going home on the same day. More minor, uncomplicated procedures can be done without hospitalization. More and more hospitals are gradually adopting same-day care. This type of care frees the capacity for more complex surgeries and helps increase accessibility to care for more people.

Doctors aim to admit several thousand patients annually in the newly opened same-day care center at the Beroun hospital, which is part of the AKESO healthcare group. “In today’s fast-paced world, it is important for patients to be able to return home to their families. It significantly helps them cope with postoperative stress and pain better than when lying in an unfamiliar environment,” explained Petr Zeithaml, head of the local surgical department.

This type of care is not intended for older patients who may face complications due to numerous health problems. On the contrary, the goal is to minimize complications for the patient. And if any complications do arise, the clinic has arrangements with other hospitals with beds where they can be treated. “If complications occur, patients can visit our outpatient clinic 24 hours a day, and we also plan postoperative check-ups where we can identify any problems,” added the head physician. The care is covered by insurance.

After the center’s opening, they can perform surgeries on 6,000 patients annually and aim to double that number. “Waiting times for such types of surgeries are long, ranging from six months to a year and a half, depending on the region. When a center is established where we can perform many surgeries, waiting times will be reduced,” explained Sotirios Zavalianis, board chairman.

Like many other facilities operating in a same-day regime, they perform procedures such as hernia repairs, knee ligament replacements, treatment of hemorrhoids, vasectomy, and curettage (removal of uterine lining). The number of these healthcare centers providing such care is increasing in the Czech Republic. The General Health Insurance Company already has contracts with 166 facilities. Since 2021, the number of patients undergoing same-day procedures has increased by one-third.

Fifty thousand for tummy tuck

For hospitals, keeping patients in bed for a few days was more advantageous, even if many did not need it. Due to the reimbursement system, it was not beneficial to send them home.

However, this is changing. Fixed prices have been introduced in the system for minimally invasive procedures, which was not the case before. However, this does not currently result in significant savings for insurance companies, as confirmed by VZP.

“This way, it is possible not only to reduce healthcare costs by shortening the length of hospitalization but primarily to offer patients the opportunity to ‘heal’ in their home environment,” explained Jiří Gallo, chairman of the Czech Society for Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Musculoskeletal System, as previously discussed with Právo.

The list of same-day procedures is expected to expand to include more minor urological, orthopedic, and gynecological procedures. This is anticipated in the proposal for reimbursement regulation for the following year.

For instance, hospitals could receive 47,039 crowns for hernia surgery using an implant in the coming year, 34,270 crowns for hemorrhoid surgery, and nearly 47,000 crowns for reconstructive shoulder arthroscopy, which helps with cartilage-related issues. Plastic surgery is not an exception either. For example, insurance companies cover the cost of tummy tucks for 52,158 crowns.