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Ljubljana, June 14, 2022 – At today’s AmCham Focus event, which was organised by the AmCham Health and Wellbeing Committee and titled The View of the Economy on Slovenian Health Care, guests Urša Lakner, M.Sc. – Policy & Public Affairs Senior Manager Adriatic Region, Pfizer, and Co-Chair of the AmCham Health and Wellbeing Committee, Polona Peterle – Authorized Officer of the Management Board, Triglav, zdravstvena zavarovalnica, Janez Bensa – Co-Owner and CEO, Parsek, and Janko Burgar, M.Sc.  – Vice President for Strategic Development, Cosylab, and the Co-Chair of the AmCham Health and Wellbeing Committee highlighted the importance of a stable, solidary, financially sustainable, and patient-centric health care system that seizes the opportunities brought by digitalisation and technological innovation.

In the introductory part, Ajša Vodnik,M.Sc. the CEO of AmCham Slovenia, emphasised that AmCham Slovenia, with its eight committees that bring together over 320 experts, strives to be a fruitful partner in discussions in all areas. This year, the key areas of activity for AmCham Slovenia are health, knowledge, international competitiveness, sustainability, meritocracy, and transparency; however, health is the number one priority. Mrs.Vodnik stressed the importance of health care for our lives, “Without regulated health care, there is no quality life.” She added that a higher health care budget will not produce solutions automatically. It is essential to look for reserves in organisations, find areas that can be made more efficient, and determine where proper management and expertise can lead to progress.

Urša Lakner spoke about the importance of public, state, and private health care. She believes that Slovenia boasts an excellent public health care system with top-notch experts. She highlighted the aspect of health care investments, which should not be understood as a burden or cost. In the future, shifting demographics will further test the sustainability of the health care system. Thus, it will be necessary to treat health care as a rapidly developing industry. She underlined that it is necessary for the state to realise this, so that health care can remain as accessible as it is today.

“The public system is a social consensus,” stated Polona Peterle, who added that quality health care becomes essential the very moment a person needs it. She agrees that one of the pressing future challenges is changing demographics, which calls for stable financing. She advocates a strong health care system scaled up with a private initiative; such financing would take a burden off the public resources and increase the accessibility of health care services. Slovenia has one of the highest social contribution rates, with the contributions being solidary both in terms of income and intergenerational aspects; intergenerational solidarity can also be observed in supplemental health insurance. However, there is none in self-paid health care. Thus, this share should not grow in the transformation of the health care system – it is essential to consider the different aspects of financing. She also stressed the importance of health care literacy and mentioned an assumption that many make, “The health insurance card is the only card without a limit.” It is imperative that the general public becomes aware of the resources allocated to Slovenian health care.

Janko Burgar underlined the lack of public-private partnerships and discussed the types of partnerships brought by private equity. He is convinced that these would enable a higher budgetary welfare and facilitate a breakthrough, as there would be a greater return for the resources invested. In addition to this, he also drew attention to the importance of introducing new technologies and treatment methods as well as upgrading infrastructure.

Janez Bensa pointed out that a transformation of the health care systems, based on available data and digitalisation is necessary, which should not be seen merely as a technological process. In this process, it is essential to include all stakeholders, who are eager to see the transformation, to clearly define the matrices and goals, and to allow for competitiveness, which has turned out beneficial in the development of new drugs in the past two years. He emphasised that using the right method of long-term transformation saves money and – what is more important – time. This also means shorter waiting periods and a higher degree of patient inclusion in the treatment process.

Samo Drnovšek from Better talked about the national infrastructure case of eHealth, the condition of Slovenia, and the key future challenges in this area. He believes that we must update our software to enable a higher degree of data linkage. However, he also believes that large amounts of existing data are non-transparent and that not enough resources are being allocated to this area. Hence, many opportunities that Slovenia has in this area remain untapped.

Gregor Bezenšek, the founder of the Viljem Julijan Association, presented how the patient sees our health care system. He emphasised that the latter has numerous advantages, but there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to patients with rare diseases, especially in terms of palliative care for children with rare diseases.