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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A visit from the United Nations to the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko





Helliniko 03 May 2013
PRESS RELEASE
A visit from the United Nations to the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko

On April 27, 2013 Mr. Cephas Lumina, an independent expert from the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN visited MCCH.  Mr Lumina is studying the social consequences of rigid austerity policies imposed in Greece.  These policies are pushing an increasing number of people into “extreme poverty.”
During his visit he determined that a major problem is the lack of health coverage for uninsured and unemployed patients.  Doctors discussed with him their deep concerns for uninsured patients.  They may find community clinics such as ours for primary care, but if a patient needs further hospitalization or major surgery, they will have to pay for these services.  If they cannot pay, this debt will be transferred to their tax bill.  Non-payment of these debts carries legal implications – perhaps even as far as imprisonment.  The volunteers of MCCH provided Mr Lumina with specific cases they have documented of this lack of coverage including cancer patients who have suffered irreversible damage to their health. Finally Mr. Lumina asked us whether there are proposals from the state for the coverage of uninsured citizens.  MCCH’s Dr. George Vichas told him that various solutions are being explored.  One example is a proposal to establish a special fund with the revenues coming in from medical services provided to citizens of other countries.  
MCCH strongly disapproves of the inability to process check-outs in state hospitals from 15:00 hours until the next morning.  This results in money lost in the hospitalization of citizens from other countries who are insured; money that would help cover the needs of uninsured citizens.
Mr. Lumina informed us that it will include all his findings in his report, which will be conveyed to the Greek Government.

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