Fact Check: Romania Will NOT Lose All Of Its Family Doctors Starting February 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romania Will NOT Lose All Of Its Family Doctors Starting February 2024 No Such Effect

Will Romania be left without its general practitioners (GPs), or family doctors, starting February 2024, due to a conflict between doctors and the National Health Insurance House (CNAS), meaning that patients won't be treated anymore and will be left to die? No, that's not true: Romanian GPs threatened to refuse to sign contracts with the CNAS as of February 2024, holding nationwide protests if the CNAS didn't raise the current fees for insurance claims. However, negotiations led to a suspension of the protests.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on TikTok by user @5news.ro (archived here) on January 20, 2024, titled "No more family doctors." The video opened (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

We will no longer have family doctors starting February. Family doctors will not sign contracts with the Health Insurance House. What does this mean? Whoever doesn't have money, will die starting next month.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 31 21:25:49 2024 UTC)

General practitioners (GPs) protested in Bucharest and the rest of the country in mid-January 2024 over the low rates they are entitled to while working with the National Health Insurance House (CNAS), thus offering free healthcare to patients. However, they reached an agreement with the CNAS (archived here) on January 18, 2024, and suspended their protests. The TikTok clip was posted two days later.

Doctors said (archived here) that the CNAS reimbursed them 35 RON (around 7 Euros) per consultation, while in a private clinic, they would receive between 200 and 300 RON (40-60 Euros). In addition, the CNAS intended to lower the budget (archived here) even more. As a result, practitioners wanted to continue doing their jobs, but to charge patients for their services (archived here) and establish private practices instead of being tied to CNAS.

Not all GPs joined the protest - in Bucharest, about half of the family doctors decided to stop working with the National Health Insurance House (CNAS), according to Mihnea Stroe, head of the Family Doctors Patronage in Bucharest-Ilfov. After a few days of negotiations (archived here), the CNAS promised to freeze the tariffs for medical services at the current level (archived here) and not lower them until at least June 30, 2024 (archived here).

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

Read more about or contact Ioana Burtea

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