Belgium’s Government has decided to grant hospitals an extra one billion euros to help with additional expenses linked to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Announcing the new assistance on Saturday, Health Minister Maggie De Block said it would go to general and psychiatric hospitals, and would be released in two tranches of 500 million euros each.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, hospitals have faced additional expenditure, due mainly to work on creating COVID-19 units, buying protective equipment and taking on additional medical staff.
At the same time, they have been generating less income with the postponement of non-emergency medical care, whereas costs continue to build up, especially those related to staff, equipment and rent.
To avoid payment problems and guarantee the continuity of medical care, the Federal Government decided in late April to grant general hospitals advances to the sum of one billion euros, “but that will not be enough,” Minister De Block said in a press release.
An initial supplementary advance of 500 million euros will thus be given to general and psychiatric hospitals, while a second 500-million-euro tranche will be released in October.
Additional expenditure linked to the crisis as well as the running costs of services forced to postpone non-emergency care will be taken into consideration in calculating the final COVID-19 supplementary budget, the Health Minister said.
Discussions are under way with the hospital sector to work out the modalities and extent of the additional financing.