In giving journalists receipts about surgeries performed in a private clinic in Adazi, Latvian Healthcare Minister Guntis Belevics has ’shot himself in the foot’. Receipts provided by Belevics reveal his lies about not receiving state-funded healthcare services since 2004. In reality, he received such services four days ago, writes Latvijas Avīze.
«In the past 25 years there was only one instance when I received state-funded healthcare services – in 2004. In accordance with rights provided by Patient Rights Law, I will not provide any other comments on my health.» This official statement from the minister was published by Healthcare Ministry after the 8 June article in LA ‘VIP patient without quotas and queues’.
On Wednesday, 8 June, Belevics presented copies of receipts that comply with his explanations provided to the media and Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, proving that he did not use official power to cut the queue at Latvia’s Oncology Centre to undergo a surgery but instead paid for an arm surgery at Adazi private clinic.
Unfortunately for him, however, the receipts he provided only prove that he did, indeed, undergo a surgery at Adazi private clinic on 30 May and 6. What his presented receipts do not prove, however, is whether or not he was operated at Latvia’s Oncology Centre in May ahead of other patients. In addition, Belevics’ presented receipts also reveal that he lied to the media and the public about not receiving state-funded healthcare services in the past 12 years.
Copies of Belevics’ receipts show that he paid EUR 90 and EUR 45 for each surgery at Adazi private clinic and related services. In addition, receipts show that the minister paid very small amounts for the two arm surgeries: the surgery itself, according to receipts, cost only EUR 4.27. Another EUR 7.11 was paid for Belevics’ stay in the daytime clinic and EUR 33.62 – additional medical services.
The actual prices for arm surgeries in Latvia’s private clinics are tens and hundreds of times larger. According to the official price list of Micro-surgery Centre, there is not a single type of arm surgery that costs less than EUR 240. Prices of certain surgeries exceed EUR 900.
This means that the arm surgery was not performed on Belevics at Adazi private clinic for free, but rather the minister, opposite to his public statement to the media, had used state-funded healthcare serves – exactly what Belevics claimed not having used since 2004.
«Arm surgeries in our clinic can be financed as part of state-funded programme if a patient’s payment does not exceed EUR 45,» – as confirmed by information posted on the official website of Adazi private clinic. EUR 45 is the amount Belevics paid for his surgeries and related services.
Dr. Janis Zarzeckis of Adazi private clinic admitted on Thursday – Belevics was operated on 30 May and 6 June as part of the state-funded programme. Both surgeries were carried out by Zarzeckis.
This means that the biggest portion of actual costs of the operations performed on Latvia’s Healthcare Minister – a millionaire – will be paid from taxpayers’ wallets. Zarzeckis did not reveal the exact price of the two operations, saying that each operation consisted of multiple complicated manipulations, each with its own tariff.
Although the minister did receive a reprimand from his political party, he refused to answer the newspaper’s questions, including ones asked about his reasons for lying earlier.