The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the financial situation of hospitals and healthcare providers. The hospitals needed to implement emergency plans at short notice. Both increasing the admission capacity and increasing the capacity of the intensive care unit resulted in considerable additional costs.
In addition, non-essential care was postponed on several occasions, resulting in less revenue for the hospital and the healthcare providers through fee for service payment and fixed fees.
For this reason, the federal government decided in 2020 to provide financial compensation for hospitals and healthcare providers. To this end, advances totalling €2 billion were disbursed to general and psychiatric hospitals.
The aim of granting the advances was to support the hospitals in meeting their financial obligations, i.e. paying active staff members as well as paying invoices from suppliers and service providers on time.
The lump-sum payments are intended to provide support with the following:
The final funding will be calculated in 2023 taking into account the actual impact of COVID-19 on each hospital, and will be calculated and paid out in a collaboration between the FPS HSFCE and the NIHDI.
TIMELINE OF HOSPITAL FUNDING
Find out more about the specific rules for the disbursement of funding: www.ejustice.just.fgov.be
A staff member working in a general or psychiatric hospital between 1 September and 30 November 2020 is entitled to a one-off incentive payment of €985 gross. In addition, as compensation for the COVID-19 efforts made, care staff from the federal sector (including hospitals, district health centres and home nursing services) are also entitled to consumption vouchers worth €300 per person that can be used in the catering and events sector.
Find out more about federal support for hospitals: www.health.belgium.be
In order to continue to guarantee their optimal operation, hospitals were stimulated to keep the bed occupancy rate under control. Patients had to be optimally distributed across the various hospitals and their campuses. In addition, patients who no longer needed hospital care had to leave the hospital as soon as possible. Hospitals were entitled to compensation for the transportation of patients to achieve the above. In 2020 and 2021, hospitals recorded 21,106 and 21,363 trips, respectively. This includes both trips within and outside the hospitals, and the transportation of COVID-19 as well as non-COVID-19 patients. On average, a little over €2 million per year was paid out to compensate hospitals for the costs of this patient transportation. These amounts were paid out via the Financial Resources Budget.