After the various openings and closings of health facilities here in Saanen, there is now more unfortunate news for ensuring basic health care in the Saanenland. The Health and Welfare Directorate (GEF) announced last Friday that the financial contribution to Spital STS AG has been rejected.
Spital STS AG, the company that runs Zweisimmen Hospital as well as several others, is "irritated and disappointed," according to their official response. The municipality of Saanen regrets the decision, Zweisimmen is dismayed, and the IG hospital supply Simmental-Obersimmental calls for more financial transparency.
Last February, Spital STS AG filed a request with the canton for an annual subsidy of CHF 3.4 million. The amount would have be used for the sustainable operation of the hospital services while the new hospital building is under construction. From the point of view of the STS AG, the provisional services would have to be financed by the public authorities in order to ensure the sustainable operation of the hospital in need of care with the prescribed basic package.
The GEF board of governors argued that the site could not be operated in a cost-effective manner, and the corresponding operational deficit—which had been sustained for years—would jeopardize the development of the main location in Thun. The GEF has now rejected the request stating, “The costs must be covered by the tariff negotiated with the health insurers." There are also too many open questions for the GEF and they say that if these were answered and the tariffs were renegotiated, another request could be considered.
The IG Hospital Supply Simmental-Saanenland, which calls for "the figures to be made transparent and public," is also in agreement with the GEF.
"STS AG is making a profit, and bonuses in the millions are paid out,” says IG Hospital Supply Simmental-Saanenland.
The GEF recognizes the health care crisis in the region, writing that, "The GEF is aware of the fact that it is a particularly difficult challenge to ensure an acute basic care in the Simmental-Saanenland region.”
The current request, however, they could not approve. The GEF says they remain ready to examine any new application as soon as the bargaining agreements with the health insurers for 2018 are completed and the open questions concerning the planned new building and concept are clarified.