The computer system used by the National Health Insurance Agency has been down for over 3 weeks
Officials from the National Health Insurance Agency (CNAS) and the experts in charge with the maintenance of the integrated health card management system have met to discuss the problems experienced by the platform over the past few weeks, when the system has crashed repeatedly.
Since July 10th, most healthcare services, including the dispensing of medicines and medical devices, have been registered offline. As a result, many family physicians have been unable to get the services they provided validated in the system, which they are required to do within 72 hours. Many doctors have to come in during the night to validate the documents, hoping that at night time the system is less busy and less likely to break down. It is also during the night that they try, and with any luck manage to, file their compulsory monthly reports to the Health Insurance Agency.
The digital platform designed to link healthcare providers (i.e. family physicians) to patients and the insurer (CNAS) is “in full collapse,” physicians warn, because many vital components of the system have been left without maintenance.
In an attempt to find a solution, the Healthcare Minister Sorina Pintea announced that emergency procurement procedures would be initiated, to purchase maintenance services. The system was restarted on Monday, but it only worked for several hours. This time around, users found that the database was down and could not be accessed. Sorina Pintea accused the CNAS of failing to initiate the procurement procedure in time:
Sorina Pintea: “What I find the most disturbing is that components of the digital platform of the National Health Insurance Agency were left without maintenance, although they are vital to the operation of the system. The law is very clear in this respect. There was no database maintenance. So at the moment we cannot even check whether someone is insured or not. When a healthcare service is reported, if we don’t have this component up and running, the service cannot be validated and therefore its cost cannot be disbursed. And this is precisely why we had this system in the first place.”
Sorina Pintea added that as soon as an inspection is conducted at the National Health Insurance Agency and a report is finalized, the document will be sent to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, because the law has certainly been breached. In recent years, physicians and patients have requested repeatedly that these problems be solved, and yet nothing happened. The implementation of the integrated health card management system is a project for which the Romanian state paid 21 million euros.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)