Confusion reigns over payment of COVID-19 work in France

2017 07 11 10 22 25 390 French Flag 400

The regional union of private health professionals in Île-de-France (L'Union rĂ©gionale des professionnels de santĂ© [URPS] mĂ©decins libĂ©raux Île-de-France) has called on the government to pay volunteer private practitioners for COVID-19-related shifts -- a demand which to date has been refused.

Since 14 March, private facilities in Île-de-France -- in line with public hospitals -- have postponed all planned interventions in favor of dedicating care and beds to seriously ill COVID-19 patients, and have provided a third of the 1,000 extra intensive care beds made available during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, private doctors of all specialties have taken on 12-hour on-call shift work, according to the URPS, which represents 22,000 private doctors in the region. These shifts have to date been unpaid, due to a gap in the financial framework for paying for such necessary activity in the current exceptional circumstances, according to a statement issued by the union on 16 April.

The Île-de-France branch considers such a request for payment to be legitimate and proposed a rate per 12-hour shift to the authorities. After several days of negotiation, the national health insurer (L'Assurance Maladie) agreed with the proposals, but the Ministry of Health refused to ratify the payment plans, indicating instead that this could be negotiated at a future date, based on partial compensation of activity loss at national level, according to the statement.

The URPS stated that all private specialists volunteering to care for seriously ill COVID-19 patients should be recognized and paid for their time, as in the public sector, and called on the minister for health and the prime minister to pay private doctors for their work combating the disease.

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