+++
Την Ελληνική μας σελίδα θα την βρείτε εδω http://www.mkiellinikou.org/ +++


Monday, January 27, 2014

Yet Another Obstacle For The Uninsured And Impoverished


Helliniko - 27 January 2014




Press Release
Yet Another Obstacle For The Uninsured And Impoverished


Another hurdle for the destitute and uninsured in Greece.  We have been trying to do something positive, to allow a ray of sunshine to make the life of our fellow citizens more tolerable, but sometimes it seems for every step forward there are two steps back.  The government has added yet another difficulty to the long list of obstacles for the uninsured and the poorest of our fellow citizens.

Until now, those who were the poorest and who had an extremely small or no income, were not obliged to file a tax return, but simply had to affirm that they were below a certain income.  Now they must file.  Further, they must file on-line (as is now obligatory for all filing with the tax services)

What does this mean?  It means that a large number of people without resources, who have serious problems, who are (often) not that far from living on the street, must find a way to register on-line, set up an account and password to fulfill their obligations.  We’re talking about people who often don’t have electric power in their homes - let alone access to the internet.  And it goes without saying that they don’t have the money to pay an accountant to perform this service for them.  And to top it all off, if they are overdue on these obligations, they are heavily fined.

So, what are the consequences of these rulings?  These people cannot now have an unemployment card issued, and therefore cannot renew a booklet that certifies they are indigent.  They cannot apply for a minimal pension from OGA (a pension fund) or welfare services.  In other words, they are in an even worse situation than they were in 2013, when they had at least some minimum benefits.

We’ve already had patients come into the clinic, mystified as to why their booklets have not been renewed and surprised to learn that they have to make a tax return, when they have no income to declare.  They know they are indigent, but are bewildered as to why they cannot document it.  We will soon be overwhelmed by such cases.


It is a fair question as to why the government takes such inhuman measures; why does it choose to erect insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles?  A measure which theoretically will make life easier is going to leave many COMPLETELY destitute and miserable and will make access to even the most rudimentary welfare assistance and the health system impossible. 

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meeting with the Greek Minister of Health and His Aides





PRESS RELEASE

Meeting with the Greek Minister of Health and His Aides


On Tuesday 24 January 2014 a delegation of volunteers from our clinic met with the Greek Minister of Health Mr. Andonis Georgiadis and his confidential aides.  The Minister stayed in the meeting a brief period, but the meeting with his aides lasted more than 90 minutes and in it we discussed several serious topics concerning health care for the uninsured and other topics concerning public health.

From our side, we raised the issue of the uninsured and their access to hospitalization which is often a life or death issue (literally).  Unfortunately, when we asked if the new system of primary health care would provide free health coverage for uninsured patients, the response was negative.

-            We discussed the case of our cancer patient who has still to complete his treatment and who owes a huge amount to the hospital and they assured us they would deal with this case.
-            They pledged that they would provide cost-free cover to any of our uninsured patients that have urgent need of hospitalization
-            We proposed the establishment of a committee with experts in the field, to study the effects of the lack of systematic medical care for the chronically ill, such as diabetic patients.  How does this lack of care impact society, the level of medical care and the economy of the country? 
-            We discussed the subject of diseases such as Hepatitis B, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. as well as the possibility of providing coverage for medication for these patients, in order to protect public health.
-            We discussed the continuing availability of anti-cancer medications to the Oncology Clinic at Sotiria Hospital.  The oncology clinic is treating uninsured cancer patients on a volunteer basis.  They assured us that the flow of medication would continue to them.
Toward the end of the meeting the aides to the Minister asked MKIE to prepare a study that would facilitate the free treatment of the uninsured by the Pubic Health System.  Such a proposal was tempting to us.  In fact, we have already made certain proposals on how to deal with uninsured patients (This was back in March of 2013! http://mki-ellinikou.blogspot.gr/2013/04/blog-post_8.html ).  But, in essence, asking a voluntary community clinic to put forth such a plan is unrealistic, even if we do have 230 volunteers.  What this clinic can do – and does – apart from providing primary health care is to point out the health problems we still have, to remind the government of its responsibilities to the people and to propose solutions.  But these studies should have been done long before so many cuts to the health system were made – and are still to be made.  To proceed without a plan is to proceed “blindly”; the sole concern being cost reduction and without taking into consideration the cost in human lives.

A real plan involves economic and political aspects to make it comprehensive and feasible.  We certainly know the health problems and the needs, but we don’t pretend to have the “gestalt” view of a government.  But at least we have our priorities straight; the lives and health of our fellow citizens are on top of our priority list.

At the close of the meeting, we assured the ministry that we were not playing any political games because we are not politically involved.  Whatever facts we present have been authenticated and verified, and we consider it our duty to keep the public informed as further cases arise.

Once more, we call the attention of the Ministry to the plight of the uninsured and stress that we can’t go on treating them haphazardly on a case-by-case basis.  There are too many cases.  If we are care about saving human lives, we need to open and deploy the entire public health system.

For the Ministry of Health to neglect and ignore primary health for uninsured patients defies logic.  Later, when their illness has progressed, the government will have to pay much more money to keep them alive – money which they will not be recovered, because the already impoverished will be in a much more wretched condition.  So the piecemeal approach which is being used now, not only costs more lives, it costs more money too!  (We have actually reached the point where, in order to convince them that it is worth it to save human lives, we have to first convince them that our approach is more profitable!)

The destiny of 3 million uninsured citizens is in the hands of our political leaders.  They must find an immediate solution.



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com


Friday, January 10, 2014

Who Fears The Truth?





PRESS RELEASE

Who Fears The Truth?


The truth is that if a citizen goes to a Greek Public Hospital for help, he has to be insured or to foot the hospital bill.  Otherwise the cost is passed on to the Treasury as a debt to be followed by the pressure one is subjected to in collecting what is “owed” according to the tax laws.  What it comes down to is that the poor patient is between a rock and a hard place: does he commit his family to debt, or does he ignore the doctor’s advice by not going to the hospital.

The truth is that even if a patient who cannot afford a necessary operation decides he must submit to it, even then he faces a bureaucratic nightmare.

The truth is that the Greek Health Minister has been informed by our clinic about the ten extremely serous cases of desperate patients who were in need of immediate hospitalisation as early as the 9th of December 2013 and again on the 19th of the same month.  In addition, the Ministry had been officially informed (reference number 3325-12-13) by the General Secretariat of the Government.

The truth is that the Ministry reacted only on the 2nd of January 2014.  After our S.O.S. messages and articles crying for help, a sizeable number of conscientious citizens, inundated the Ministry’s office with protests.  Then – and only then – did the Ministry deign to ask us for the list of the ten serious cases and we were asked to co-operate with them for their admission to public hospitals – which we obviously did immediately.

At that moment, we were informed of the death of the 66 year old patient on the list and who, before coming to the community clinic, had already visited two public hospitals where he was told that if he could not pay for tests and hospitalization he could not be admitted.  He left with only some medication recommended to him.

The truth is that finally this patient was admitted to a public hospital.  But the fact that the patient was left with no treatment from mid-October until a few days before his death simply because he had no insurance, must have affected the outcome.

The truth is that there was no meeting scheduled for the Clinic with the Ministry of Health on 13 November 2013.  At our initiative, we had arranged a meeting on 10 October 2013 in the belief that our delegation would be able to discuss several issues with the Minister.  It is obvious, because of the date, that that appointment had ABOSOLUTELY NO relation to the issue of the ten uninsured patients, let alone the 66 year old patient who at that point, had not visited our Clinic.  That meeting was cancelled because of urgent circumstances and not because of “political games” as stated by the minister.

The truth is that the political games are played by the politicians, and not by ordinary citizens.  Because it is a “political game” to ignore the appeals of a community clinic, not to mention the General Secretariat of the Government, for more than a month for these ten uninsured patients, but as soon as soon as they feel pressure from the public, through the media, a solution is found within a few hours. 

It’s a political game when the Minister personally states that he has given carte blanch for public hospitals to receive the uninsured in urgent cases without clarifying the entire procedure or conditions for receiving this care.

It follows that we, as a volunteer community clinic are not solely focused on this terrible case; there are countless other tragic cases, and illness doesn’t wait for signatures and paperwork.  We will continue to serve all those who are in need and we are ready to cooperate with any and all so as to find a solution to the major issue of access for all to the Public Health System without exception or exclusion.




METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Another Murder of an Uninsured Patient



PRESS RELEASE
Another Murder of an Uninsured Patient


One of our patients has died.  He died because no public hospital would accept him.  He died because he couldn’t pay the bill.  He died, even though he was on a list of critically ill patients that we have been petitioning the Ministry of Health to assist.  Our patient no longer needs assistance.

On the 9th of December we published a list of ten patients diagnosed as needing IMMEDIATE hospitalization.  We made efforts to get them into ANY public hospital.

The 66 year old patient, one on the list, came to our clinic in mid-October, suffering from acute pain in the chest and coughing up blood.  We examined him and arranged for a CT scan; he needed immediate hospitalization for further treatment.  Unfortunately no pubic hospital would accept the patient since he was not able to pay.

On the 9th of December we made our first petition to the Minister of Health.  Since we had no answer, we repeated the appeal on the 20th of December stressing that these patients were in critical danger of losing their lives.  And on the 30th of December, our patient did lose his life.  One more home of an uninsured patient shut down in darkness; one more citizen a victim of the murderous policies of the last four years,

After his loss, another seriously ill patient now occupies the 10th place on the detailed list of critical patients that we RESENT to the Ministry last night. 

We hope and pray that they receive better treatment.  They certainly deserve better. 

Our list of ten now includes eight (8) patients with serious heart problems, one (1) with an aortic aneurism and one (1) with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who has immediate need of chemotherapy.

For how long will the policy makers at the Ministry of Health put the lives of all of us in danger and by cutting the necessary funding for the public health system? 

Yesterday our 66 year old patient was buried.  But as of today, all of us will work even harder to put an end to these murderous policies.  These policies cannot be our future; those making these policies must not prevail.

-                We have left out the personal details of our patients for obvious reasons.  But the least we could do was give the bare facts to publicize the letter that we sent on January 2nd to the Ministry which, of course, contained full patient details



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com


The Lives Of Ten Of Our Fellow Citizens Are In Danger




PRESS RELEASE

The Lives Of Ten Of Our Fellow Citizens Are In Danger


From the 9th of December 2013 in two succeeding e-mails, we asked the Minister of Health to help ten uninsured fellow citizens whose lives were in immediate danger and required hospitalization.  As of 20 December 2013, a message has been pending that was sent by the General Secretariat of the Government to the Ministry of Health (Protocol Number 3325/20-12-13), after the second press release that we issued.  As of today, we have not received any answer from the Health Ministry.

Because people are in danger, we have no other choice than to ask the public to help. The goal is to get the Ministry to, at last, do what is necessary and required.

We ask all to call, en masse, the telephone numbers you will find below, or send e-mails to the Ministry of Health and the General Secretariat of the government, demanding them to give an IMMEDIATE solution to the tragedy of our ten uninsured patients.  It simply cannot be that the uninsured are left to fend for themselves and possibly left to die.

Ministry of Health
Telephone of the Minister +30 213 2161245
Email  minister@yyka.gov.gr
Telephone of the secretary +30 210 5235814 and +30 210 5235 819

General Secretariat of the government
Telephone +30 210 3385 402 (405through 407)
Email gge@ggk.gr 




METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (SATURDAY 10:00 - 14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com