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      Out-of-Pocket and Informal Payment Before and After the Health Transformation Plan in Iran: Evidence from Hospitals Located in Kurdistan, Iran

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          Background: One of the objectives of the health transformation plan (HTP) in Iran is to reduce out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for inpatient services and eradicate informal payments. The HTP has three phases: the first phase (launched in May 5, 2014) is focused on reducing OOP payments for inpatient services; the second phase (launched in May 22, 2014) is focused on primary healthcare (PHC) and the third phase utilizes an updated relative value units for health services (launched in September 29, 2014) and is focused on the elimination of informal payments. This aim of this study was to determine the OOP payments and the frequency of informal cash payments to physicians for inpatient services before and after the HTP in Kurdistan province, Iran.

          Methods: This quasi-experimental study used multistage sampling method to select and evaluate 265 patients ischarged from hospitals in Kurdistan province. The study covered 3 phases (before the HTP, after the first, and third phases of the HTP). Part of the data was collected using a hospital information system form and the rest were collected using a questionnaire. Data were analyzed using Fisher exact test, logistic regression, and independent samples t test.

          Results: The mean OOP payments before the HTP and after the first and third phases, respectively, were US$59.4, US$17.6, and US$14.3 in hospital affiliated to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME), US$39.6, US$33.7, and US$13.7 in hospitals affiliated to Social Security Organization (SSO), and US$153.3, US$188.7, and US$66.4 in private hospitals. In hospitals affiliated to SSO and MoHME there was a significant difference between the mean OOP payments before the HTP and after the third phase (P<.05). The percentage of informal payments to physicians in hospitals affiliated to MoHME, SSO, and private sector, respectively, were 4.5%, 8.1%, and 12.5% before the HTP, and 0.0%, 7.1%, and 10.0% after the first phase. Contrary to the time before the HTP, no informal payment was reported after the third phase.

          Conclusion: It seems that the implementation of the HTP has reduced the OOP payments for inpatient services and eradicated informal payments to physician in Kurdistan province.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Health Sector Evolution Plan in Iran; Equity and Sustainability Concerns.

          In 2014, a series of reforms, called as the Health Sector Evolution Plan (HSEP), was launched in the health system of Iran in a stepwise process. HSEP was mainly based on the fifth 5-year health development national strategies (2011-2016). It included different interventions to: increase population coverage of basic health insurance, increase quality of care in the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME) affiliated hospitals, reduce out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for inpatient services, increase quality of primary healthcare, launch updated relative value units (RVUs) of clinical services, and update tariffs to more realistic values. The reforms resulted in extensive social reaction and different professional feedback. The official monitoring program shows general public satisfaction. However, there are some concerns for sustainability of the programs and equity of financing. Securing financial sources and fairness of the financial contribution to the new programs are the main concerns of policy-makers. Healthcare providers' concerns (as powerful and influential stakeholders) potentially threat the sustainability and efficiency of HSEP. Previous experiences on extending health insurance coverage show that they can lead to a regressive healthcare financing and threat financial equity. To secure financial sources and to increase fairness, the contributions of people to new interventions should be progressive by their income and wealth. A specific progressive tax would be the best source, however, since it is not immediately feasible, a stepwise increase in the progressivity of financing must be followed. Technical concerns of healthcare providers (such as nonplausible RVUs for specific procedures or nonefficient insurance-provider processes) should be addressed through proper revision(s) while nontechnical concerns (which are derived from conflicting interests) must be responded through clarification and providing transparent information. The requirements of HSEP and especially the key element of progressive tax should be considered properly in the coming sixth national development plan (2016-2021).
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            We analyze the effect of insurance on the probability of an individual incurring 'high' annual health expenses using data from three household surveys. All come from China, a country where providers are paid fee-for-service according to a schedule that encourages the overprovision of high-tech care and who are only lightly regulated. We define annual spending as 'high' if it exceeds a threshold of local average income and as 'catastrophic' if it exceeds a threshold of the household's own per capita income. Our estimates allow for different thresholds and for the possible endogeneity of health insurance (we use instrumental variables and fixed effects). Our main results suggest that in all three surveys health insurance increases the risk of high and catastrophic spending. Further analysis suggests that this is due to insurance encouraging people to seek care when sick and to seek care from higher-level providers.
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              Universal health coverage in Turkey: enhancement of equity.

              Turkey has successfully introduced health system changes and provided its citizens with the right to health to achieve universal health coverage, which helped to address inequities in financing, health service access, and health outcomes. We trace the trajectory of health system reforms in Turkey, with a particular emphasis on 2003-13, which coincides with the Health Transformation Program (HTP). The HTP rapidly expanded health insurance coverage and access to health-care services for all citizens, especially the poorest population groups, to achieve universal health coverage. We analyse the contextual drivers that shaped the transformations in the health system, explore the design and implementation of the HTP, identify the factors that enabled its success, and investigate its effects. Our findings suggest that the HTP was instrumental in achieving universal health coverage to enhance equity substantially, and led to quantifiable and beneficial effects on all health system goals, with an improved level and distribution of health, greater fairness in financing with better financial protection, and notably increased user satisfaction. After the HTP, five health insurance schemes were consolidated to create a unified General Health Insurance scheme with harmonised and expanded benefits. Insurance coverage for the poorest population groups in Turkey increased from 2·4 million people in 2003, to 10·2 million in 2011. Health service access increased across the country-in particular, access and use of key maternal and child health services improved to help to greatly reduce the maternal mortality ratio, and under-5, infant, and neonatal mortality, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Several factors helped to achieve universal health coverage and improve outcomes. These factors include economic growth, political stability, a comprehensive transformation strategy led by a transformation team, rapid policy translation, flexible implementation with continuous learning, and simultaneous improvements in the health system, on both the demand side (increased health insurance coverage, expanded benefits, and reduced cost-sharing) and the supply side (expansion of infrastructure, health human resources, and health services). Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Int J Health Policy Manag
                Int J Health Policy Manag
                Kerman University of Medical Sciences
                Int J Health Policy Manag
                International Journal of Health Policy and Management
                Kerman University of Medical Sciences
                October 2017
                11 February 2017
                : 6
                : 10
                : 573-586
                1 Department of Health Services Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
                2 Knowledge Utilization Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
                3 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran.
                4 Department of Global Health and Public Policy, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
                5 National Academy of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
                6 College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, UK.
                7 Deputy of Treatment, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran.
                8 Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran.
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence to: Arash Rashidian arashidian@ 123456tums.ac.ir
                © 2017 The Author(s); Published by Kerman University of Medical Sciences

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 13, References: 55, Pages: 14
                Self URI: http://ijhpm.com
                Original Article


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