Social entrepreneurs to provide social services in health sector

Experts propose to secure access for social entrepreneurs to the provision of social services in the healthcare sector

26.01.2015 Moscow

Experts consider that the creation of social enterprises as commercial centres of medical and social rehabilitation and regenerative medicine will help to reduce part of the government’s financial burden in the healthcare sector. Social entrepreneurship, in their opinion, is the most effective way for the private sector to participate in the provision of social services in the healthcare sector.

The creation of such social enterprises helps to make use of redundant personnel and hospital resources whilst also reducing the number of inpatient beds and the treatment period.

“Today a healthcare reform is taking place, it’s very painful. Hospitals, medical centres and clinics are being freed up and nobody knows how to make use of them. On the one hand, they are afraid to give these over to private businesses, but on the other hand, they are afraid of concessions”, said Grigory Flax, Deputy Director of the project “Resource centre for the support of social entrepreneurship” in medical affairs and rehabilitation medicine.

Also, according to experts, it is important to provide the opportunity for commercial medical centres to provide services to the population using a combination of compulsory health insurance and privately purchased health insurance.

“Let’s say that if 100 people live in an area, give them to private clinics. The state currently pays 18,000 roubles through dozens of intermediaries for their public clinics. The tariffs for compulsory health insurance, which are proposed to private centres, are laughable. It’s a vicious circle. Private businesses want to help but no-one gives them or promises them anything,” Flax added.

Dmitry Korenev, the Deputy Director General of the network of clinics “Asteri-Med”, acknowledges that businesses are willing to take on the responsibility for providing social services in the healthcare sector under certain conditions.

Dimitry Korenev said, “Why would you not resort to a private business? A private business is ready to work both on concessions and to take control themselves to develop a public-private partnership. When we see problems with the healthcare system and we know how to solve them, we are then not only doctors, we have to also become managers”.

Elena Topoleva, member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, highlighted, however, that not all private clinics providing services for citizens, even if they are providing a quality service, can be classed as social enterprises. The activities of a social enterprise are aimed towards a socially useful goal and a large proportion of the profits is not distributed among shareholders but goes on developing the business. Furthermore, a social enterprise can be both a commercial organisation and a non-commercial organisation.

According to Topoleva, the key to developing the entire social sector, including education, healthcare and social services, is to develop competition so that the market is not just made up of state institutions but also private, commercial and non-commercial organisations.

Topoleva emphasised that “Today social enterprise provides both the opportunity for the self-realisation of citizens and the possibility for the state to bring in additional resources, not just in healthcare. The state cannot and should not deal with the entire weight of the problems alone. There are helpers, for example; NGOs, entrepreneurs.”

According to the Vice President of the non-commercial partnership Kollegia Analitikov and head of the expert group on social enterprise in the Department for the Development and Competition of Small and Medium Businesses in the Ministry of Economic Development Nadezhda Kulikova, the presence of social entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector is an important task which stands before the government, society and business.

“At the moment a huge reconstruction of the healthcare system is taking place. We must strive to find new opportunities for public-social partnerships. Social entrepreneurship is, above all, a mechanism of social partnership,” said Kulikova.

Author: Yulia Viatkina

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