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KOMMSERSANT (Russia)



Worldcrunch

MOSCOW - The doctor is in the house! At least, that is what Moscow’s city government is hoping.

Under a new program called “The doctor is next door,” the city will be renting space to private medical practices on the first floor of residential buildings for 1 ruble ($0.03) per square meter per year.

In return, the general practitioners and pediatricians will be expected to provide services for free, although other doctors will be able to charge, Kommersant reports. The general practitioners and pediatricians will be paid a salary from Russia’s compulsory medical insurance fund.

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Photo Alex E. Proimos

The city is taking these steps in an effort to reduce the load on public clinics and to increase access to family doctors, Kommersant reports. It’s not the first time the city has used very low rents to encourage private investment in projects the city wanted done - the city has also offered very low rents for historical buildings as long as they are properly restored.

All dilapidated buildings in need of repairs can also be rented for a symbolic sum as long as the renters open a private preschool after renovation.

Experts had varying opinions about the effectiveness of the program, which was announced this week. Some heralded it as a good way to help doctors fight against high rents in Moscow while others doubted that there were enough trained family doctors to go around. Others worried that the free consultations would be used to pressure patients into unnecessary, and costly, medical procedures, Kommersant reports.

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