Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Numerous problems weighing millions of euros

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The executive director of the Dr. Simo Milošević Institute in Igalo, Dr. Savo Marić, told Vijesti that the financial institution in that health institution has been very bad for a long time and that in the last few months it has further worsened, that old debts have started arriving for collection, and that they is an account blocked due to judgments on lawsuits by employees due to a lower coefficient compared to other institutions in the public health system.

Marić said that they have not yet received the money allocated to them through the rebalancing of the budget and that they do not know what the figure is, and that it would be good if they were paid immediately because they urgently need help, and he is afraid that the Government does not yet have a strategy for Institute.

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The Institute’s total current debt based on short-term liabilities and provisions, long-term liabilities and deferred tax liabilities is EUR 28.31 million.

Debt structure

– Old debts have started arriving for collection, that is, we have to return the debts left to us by our predecessors. The debt to Jugobanka AD (which is in bankruptcy) was started suddenly and currently amounts to EUR 8,854,000 with interest. The debt based on lawsuits by employees due to the lower salaries they received in the previous ten years amounts to EUR 4,137,000, including tax and contributions on wages, and based on final judgments collected, it is EUR 2,420,000. Obligations to suppliers are EUR 1,505,000, for October salaries to employees EUR 535,000, to banks (current part) EUR 1,022,000, for real estate tax and residence tax EUR 594,000, and other obligations are EUR 185,000 – stated Marić.

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He explained that the final balance of short-term liabilities and provisions is currently 19,252,000, while long-term liabilities and provisions are 2,668,000, and deferred tax liabilities are 6,433,000 EUR, while almost a million was returned in the previous period.

– The account of the Igalo Institute has been blocked for the last two weeks. The reason was the judgments received from employees’ lawsuits due to the lower coefficient compared to other institutions in the public health system. The management of the Igalo Institute did not react adequately in 2012 due to a wrong assessment, and after the decision that the coefficients were not then equalized with other institutions in the public health system, the only thing left for the employees was to sue the Igalo Institute. But that’s not the only mistake. After the first verdicts that arrived in favor of the workers, they did not react in the right way by increasing the coefficients, but bought time by appealing the verdicts. This led to new costs. Of course, the process lasted and continues, but only now have the obligations of the Igalo Institute to pay the employees a not so small sum, plus court costs, arrived.

Apart from the obligations according to the judgments, the Igalo Institute has, according to the executive director, no other payment delays to the employees and until today all salaries have been paid (still according to the old coefficients) including the September salary. The institute currently has 513 full-time employees, with an additional 51 temporary employees.

Meeting request

Marić explained that they have asked for help from the state on several occasions and what is not in their favor, as well as other subjects in the state, is the unstable political situation.

– In particular, we from the Igalo Institute started good cooperation with the former Minister of Health, Jelena Borovinić Bojović, and the former Minister of Economy, Jakov Milatović, and created guidelines for solving the problem. But there was a change of government, and then we again introduced the newly appointed Minister of Health, Dragoslav Šćekić, to our problems. In the conversation with the Minister of Health, I warned him about the danger of blocking the account of the Igalo Institute, but also about the fact that the health problems in Herceg Novi are enough to keep him awake. The state is the majority owner, so the logical sequence of events is for it to initiate an initiative and communicate with the minority shareholders, in order to find a common solution for the good of the Igalo Institute – said Marić.

He said that together with the President of the Municipality of Herceg Novi Stevan Katic more than a month ago, he sent an initiative to Prime Minister Dritan Abazović, Minister of Health Dragoslav Šćekić and Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović to receive them for an interview together with the members of the Board of Directors in order to explain to them in more detail the essence of all the problems of this health institution.

– So far, we have lost a lot of time and I am afraid that the Government of Montenegro still does not have a strategy for the Igalo Institute. Every new lost day moves us away from a positive outcome – said Marić.

News asked Marić where, in his opinion, the solution to the situation in which the Institute finds itself, that is, what is needed for the Institute to operate sustainably.

Price change

– I will remind you that the budget rebalancing has been approved and that EUR 25 million has been allocated for four companies, including the Igalo Institute. We do not know the amount allocated to the Igalo Institute, but it would be good if the funds were sent to us under an urgent procedure because we need help now and immediately. Of course, the Government and relevant ministries should give suggestions on how to spend those funds, but with respect for the opinion of the management of the Igalo Institute, at least for solving urgent problems. We are working on a business plan for 2023. The basis of the plan is the price change for all partners, including the Health Fund, according to which prices have not been changed since 2009. So, according to the Health Fund, we have been operating in the red for years, and inflation is increasing every year. With the increase in prices, we will enable positive and sustainable business,.

He said that for twenty years there has been talk about the development of medical tourism in Montenegro, and that the bearer of medical tourism according to that plan, and in Marić’s opinion, should be Herceg Novi and the Igalo Institute.

– According to my knowledge, EUR 60 million has been allocated for that project, and it is not difficult to conclude who should receive the largest part of that amount. The plan is for the Ministry of Education to purchase the plot of land of the Igalo Institute, where an elementary school and a new building for the Faculty of Applied Physiotherapy would be built. We would invest part of these funds in the renovation of existing capacities, and part in debt repayment. We passed the tender for the rehabilitation of Norwegian insured persons, so they will be rehabilitated in our institution in the next four years in groups. However, it is necessary to attract patients from other parts of Europe and the region. For now, we have a planned conversation with the Czech Health Fund, and according to the first announcements, a positive outcome and the arrival of their insured persons for treatment is certain – said Marić.

He pointed out that he does not even want to think about the scenario in which the Igalo Institute goes bankrupt.

– Over 500 employees would be out of a job, and almost as many families would be without financial security. In a very short time, due to its poor social status, the city of Herceg Novi would be the only such case in the Mediterranean – said Marić.

Marić said that he is glad that the Minister of Health Dragoslav Šćekić shares his opinion and that the problem of the Igalo Institute should be solved in parallel with the problems of the Meljina Hospital.

– The hospital is extremely important for the expanding city of Herceg Novi, and for the Igalo Institute it is of crucial importance because the existence of a hospital in the city is a condition of all our contracts with foreign partners. If the Meljine Hospital is shut down, the Igalo Institute is also shut down, and then you are free to lock down Herceg Novi – said Marić.

Put an end to the collapse of the economy in Herceg Novi

The executive director of the Igalo Institute said that he is personally against privatization or at least against the way in which previous privatizations were attempted.

– Not so long ago, the Igalo Institute was supposed to be privatized for EUR 10 million, which I would call an indecent offer, and the Meljine Hospital was “allegedly” privatized for EUR 25 million, although the buyer never paid that money, nor invested the amount was obligated under the contract – said Marić.

He assessed that Herceg Novi, that is, its economy, is unfortunately an example of disastrous privatizations and lack of concern for the common good, as well as the systematic destruction of a city.

– Now we need to put an end to that for all time – said Marić, local media writes.

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