ACRF seminar on healthcare: how SAIs monitor COVID-2019 effects
The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation held the seminar on health care issues within auditing community. Colleagues from Cyprus, Finland, France, Hungary, Israel and the USA shared their experience and COVID-19 monitoring results.
“Being a head of the Expert Group of the INTOSAI Supervisory Committee on Emerging Issues, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation conducted a survey that showed that 74% of respondents support the prospect of creating a working body, that would be devoted to audit in the field of health, social security and social protection”,
— stated the ACRF Vice Chair Galina Izotova in her welcome address to the participants of the meeting.
The agenda of the seminar was focused on discussing the readiness of public health systems for emergencies, effectiveness of government responses to the pandemic, and transparency of emergency public procurement in the field of healthcare.
During the presentation of the Russian results and best practices Anton Ustjugov, Deputy Director of the ACRF Healthcare and Sports Audit Department, pointed out that in 2020 the ACRF focused on auditing primary level of medical care, the Compulsory Health Insurance system, guarantees and drug provision state programs. Most of the thematic events included the goals and issues of assessing the impact of the spread of the new coronavirus infection on the industry and the measures taken to counteract the virus. Having conducted several audits of the implementation of incentive payments to medical workers, the ACRF experts found out that the adopted regulatory legal acts did not define:
- criteria regarding the assignment of medical and other workers
to the categories of recipients of incentive payments, determining
the amount and frequency of such payments;
- the procedure for the implementation of incentive payments to employees
of federal healthcare institutions for the performance of critical works;
- categories of persons at risk of contracting the new coronavirus infection;
- unit of time worked, taken when calculating incentive payments.
Moreover, Anton Ustjugov highlighted in his speech that the ACRF along with its audits greatly contributed to the transparency issues during COVID-19:
“Public openness and readiness to present relevant and verified information through various communication channels are very important nowadays. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been publishing special issues of our digest "COVID-19 in Russia and in the world", which tells about measures aimed at preventing the spread of a new coronavirus infection”.
Colleagues from other countries neither stay apart, shared their experience and took active part in the discussions. Among the most acute issues were:
- how to prevent these emergency situations in future: ex-post or real-time audits are more effective?
- how to arrange vaccinations effectively: improve the transparency and ensure public trust?
- unprecedented mobilization mechanisms: how to manage heterogeneous influx of patients within the national territory?
- how to make public procurement system work in a proper way?
Colleagues from the foreign SAIs tried to give answers to all these questions during the meeting, but many agreed in general that “whatever the costs are, the health is the most important”.
“All in all, the work of SAIs can be and will be of utmost importance when societies are aiming towards more sustainable solutions and decisions. We can strengthen our legitimacy by being relevant, by providing timely information and by communicating with our stakeholders. In this respect these kinds of meetings are most important for the SAIs’ society and for individual SAIs. Together we are stronger”,
– concluded Heli Mikkelä, the National Audit Office of Finland leadership team member.
The results of this seminar and further information on public health auditing will be presented for discussion to the participants of the INTOSAI International Scientific and Practical Conference held on April 21-22, 2021 in the framework of the section "Audit in the field of health and social security: new tools for the INTOSAI community". Registration is open.