Participants of the SPA industry, who have medical licenses and provide services for the prevention and rehabilitation after illness, want to get access to the means of compulsory and additional medical insurance. They ask the Ministry of Health to equate the salons with the operators of the spa industry, which are able to provide services at the expense of funds from these sources. In the sanatoriums they say that they accept patients on medical insurance at the expense of their hospitals, which are not available in SPA salons.
“Kommersant” got acquainted with the letter of the head of the executive committee of the Moscow branch of “Business Russia” Evgeny Bazylev to the head of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko dated June 7. It speaks of a proposal to equate participants in the SPA industry with medical licenses with enterprises in the spa industry.
It follows from the letter that SPA centers with a medical license provide a set of services for the prevention and rehabilitation of diseases similar to those of sanatoriums. However, such centers do not have access to compulsory medical insurance (MHI), unlike boarding houses and resort establishments. Mr. Bazylev asks the Ministry of Health to make an addition to the order of the Ministry of May 5, 2016, which determines the procedure for the provision of spa treatment, or to develop a separate document for the SPA industry.
In addition, it is proposed to include these services in the list of areas for eliminating risks to workers’ health and preventing occupational diseases. From the list, which includes 12 areas, including spa treatment, medical examinations, an employer for employees can choose several positions and return 20% of paid social insurance contributions. This mainly applies to workers in hazardous industries. The Ministry of Health told Kommersant that they received an appeal and would consider the proposals.
According to Delovaya Rossiya, there are about 2.7 thousand spa facilities operating in Russia with a turnover of 91.9 billion rubles. per year (excluding hotel centers). Symbol Marketing classifies this industry as a segment of the travel market, where the SPA industry accounts for 17% of turnover.
“Our SPA centers, unlike other countries, have found themselves outside of health prevention programs, the proposed initiatives can change the situation,” says the owner of the Feel Medical Resort & SPA chain, Medi SPA Technology Group of Companies and the head of the SPA industry committee of the Moscow Business Russia ”Natalia Filippova. It may be advantageous for employers to send employees for prevention and rehabilitation to city SPA centers with a medical license outside of working hours, adds the owner of the Planet of Beauty chain Julia Johansson, while out-of-town boarding houses offer courses, as a rule, for two weeks.
Natalya Filippova calls the equating of SPA facilities with medical licenses to sanatoriums as an anti-crisis measure for the industry, where more than 10% of centers were closed in the first year of the pandemic. “This will also allow us to participate, for example, in state programs on preventive and restorative medicine (for example, Moscow Longevity in the capital. – “B“) in exchange for a number of benefits from the authorities,” she said. In addition, the expert continues, “legalization of the SPA industry in the medical sector” will open the industry access not only to compulsory medical insurance funds, but also to additional medical insurance (VMI).
A number of insurers interviewed by Kommersant say that the employer can still pay for SPA services under VHI, “packaging” it as a preventive measure, but such requests are still rare. “The reason is that SPA services are not included in the list of medical services and the regulatory authorities can find fault with the use of VHI funds for such procedures,” one of Kommersant’s interlocutors explains.
The medical director of the Association for Health Tourism and Corporate Health, Mikhail Danilov, does not understand the meaning of the SPA industry’s proposals. “From the funds of the compulsory medical insurance, rehabilitation in hospitals at sanatoriums is paid for, and a separate license is needed for outpatient treatment,” he says. According to him, sanatoriums can be exempted from VAT if certain requirements for accommodation and meals for patients are met, which is not provided for in SPA salons.