4. Paying for services
Adequate funding for health is important to manage the excess demands on the health system. This section considers how countries are PAYING FOR COVID-19 SERVICES. Health financing describes how much is spent on health and the distribution of health spending across different service areas. The section also describes who is covered for COVID-19 testing and treatment, whether there are any notable gaps (in population coverage and service coverage), and how much people pay (if at all) for those services out-of-pocket.
4.1 Health financing
The government established an exceptional regime for the acquisition of goods and services as well as hiring of human resources for the public sector and public enterprises, including the health sector (https://dre.pt/application/conteudo/130243053). This includes removal of caps for extraordinary work payments and issuing contracts with retired health care workers, without any age limit.
Since 15 March, NHS health care institutions are authorized to directly acquire services and hire health care workers for up to 4 months and to renew those contracts (https://dre.pt/application/conteudo/130277343). Additional resources are being used to scale up testing, ICU and ventilator capacity, as well as to buy personal protective equipment.