Regional health subsidies: Ministry of Health processed applications for CZK 883 million only administratively; the Ministry resigned for the management of the subsidy programme.

Press release to audit No. 18/11 – 25 February 2019

The Supreme Audit Office examined how the Ministry of Health (MoH) managed and distributed subsidies for investments into regional healthcare from 2014 to 2017 of the specific subsidy programme.1 In these years, the Ministry allocated CZK 833 million within 181 investment actions to individual beneficiaries — mainly to regions, municipalities, and also to other bodies establishing and operating health facilities. These funds were spent primarily on medical devices, property development, information technology, and also, for example, on the equipment of rescue services. In fact, the Ministry resigned to manage this subsidy programme — 833 million were simply redistributed to beneficiaries, whose applications had been overwhelmingly evaluated only formally, without any strategy or concept. Similarly, it controlled only formally whether recipients had actually used the funds for the purpose for which they had acquired them.

The Ministry mainly processed applications only administratively instead of dealing with the necessity and usefulness of the submitted project for regional health care, whether it met all the requirements or was consistent with the aims of the Ministry. In fact, in most cases, the aid was selected by the regions which were often the subsidy applicants themselves.

In practice, the Ministry accepted applications for subsidies after the deadline, 80 per cent of scrutinized applications were incomplete, yet the MoH did not reject them and, in other cases, it did not insist on compliance with the conditions laid down. Finally, the Ministry also granted a beneficiary a subsidy of more than CZK 4 million, a part of which was used to refurbishment of accommodation facilities. However, the funds distributed were intended to finance necessary investments connected with the provision of health care in the regional health sector. As a result, the Ministry had created unequal conditions for the applicants.

Auditors also assessed how the Ministry had proceeded with the corrective measures to be taken on the basis of a previous audit performed by the SAO on the same subject.2 One of the measures was to improve controls on grant beneficiaries. However, it has turned out that between 2014 and 2017 the Ministry did not carry out any on-the-spot controls at the grants beneficiaries and did not even envisage any for 2018.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

1] These funds were spent on the programme No 235 210 — Support for the development and renewal of the technical basis of regional health care system.

2] Audit No 13/13 — National Fund earmarked for regional medical institutions.

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