The Role of Ethical Banks in Health Care Policy and Financing in Spain
García-Gutierrez, Juan Carlos
Journal of health care finance 2009 Winter; 36(2): 83-9
OBJECTIVES: Ethical, social, or civic banks, constitute a secondary source of financing, which is particularly relevant in Southern and Central Europe. However there is no information on the scientific literature on this source of health care financing. METHOD: We review the characteristics of saving banks in Spain and illustrate the contribution of one institution "Obra Social Caixa Catalunya" (OS-CC) to the health care financing in Spain. RESULTS: Savings bank health care funding was equivalent to 3 percent of the public health expenditure for 2008. The programs developed by OS-CC illustrate the complex role of savings banks in health financing, provision, training, and policy, particularly in the fields of integrated care and innovation. CONCLUSIONS: Financing is a basic tool for health policy. However, the role of social banking in the development of integrated care networks has been largely disregarded, in spite of its significant contribution to complementary health and social care in Southern and Central Europe. Decision makers both at the public health agencies and at the social welfare departments of savings banks should become aware of the policy implications and impact of savings bank activities in the long-term care system.
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