Sick-leave certificate is surely not for sale
Since February 1st, private medical centres have acquired the right to give out sick-leave certificates
Since February 1st, private medical centres have acquired the right to give out sick-leave certificates. The MT correspondent decided to find out how quickly non-state medical institutions will begin using this possibility in practice. And whether they will choose to use it.
The background to this new policy reveals that it has been under discussion for more than a year. Until now, private care centres were refused the right to give out sick-leave certificate unlike state polyclinics and hospitals. In December of last year, at the meeting of representatives of the largest medical centres, the Ministry of Health announced that such medical centres may now give out certificates, including those for child care. Now all are equal in relation to giving sick-leave certificates. However, in practice, the experts at the private medical centres are not rushing to use their right.
The country has more than 1,500 private medical centres. We asked some of them about the changes since February 1st. According to one of the participants of the December meeting, the representatives of the medical centre Ekomedservis have initiated sick-leave for their patients on one occasion. While one large private medical centre, Nordin, plans to give out certificates at an unspecified date in the future. The director of another Minsk medical centre explained that his establishment is not ready to give out sick-leave certificates. He asked us not to name him, explaining that to begin to implement the policy is a difficult procedure that requires serious preparation and a considered approach.
So, what appears to be the problem with the new measures? Experts from commercial medical institutions, who were recently calling for the right to give out the document about temporary disability, are hampered by requirements which were put forward by the Ministry of Health. In order to issue sick-leave certificates, private medical centres must introduce additional procedures, employ new personnel, organise training of experts who will issue the certificates, purchase reporting forms and create secure storage. Thus it turns out that it is impossible to launch this service from February 1st. While some are submitting applications to the Belarusian Medical Academy of Post-Graduate Education (BelMAPO) for advanced training for advisers, others are waiting to see how the issues will be solved by colleagues.
The Head of the Educational and Organisational Department of BelMAPO, Olga Morozova, assures that there is demand for training courses. Applications come from different regions. We can cover the training needs of all those who are interested.” The two-week course includes 80 academic hours. “Some centres are still waiting,” Olga Morozova noticed. “But we have been working with private entrepreneurs for many years, and as soon as they wish to, we will hold a repeat training course.”
The Head of the Department of Organisation of Medical Aid at the Health Ministry, Yelena Bogdan, confirmed, “The Health Ministry is ready to provide private medical centres with the paperwork for sick-leave certificates. Private medicine should be interested in moving in a new direction.” It is much more convenient for patients to get their certificate in the same place, rather than to go to a state polyclinic after a medical consultation elsewhere. It would seem that only secure storage of the paperwork is needed. It is unclear why representatives of the private medical institutions are afraid and why they do not hurry to use the right which has unexpectedly been given to them.
Clients have already been in contact with the private medical centre, Alfamed-95, to ask about sick-leave certificates. As long-term practice at the establishment shows, only a few people really need them. The Director of Alfamed-95, Ali Hisamo, is concerned about any conflict which may arise over the issue, “We have had only two cases when we directed patients to the polyclinic where they lived to get certificates. Our clients are active people who aspire to recover faster. This service is useless for them, and we do not plan to open such a service as there is too much trouble with it. It is necessary to employ additional staff. One sick-leave certificate needs to be signed by four people! If we fulfil all the requirements for permission to give the documents out there may still be conflict. It is also unclear what to do about payment for the sick-leave service.”
Yelena Bogdan reminded us that to receive payment for giving out sick-leave certificates is a criminal offence. So at best, the experts of the private medical centres, will be opening their lecture notes to learn all the details of sick-leave certificates. While the main method of obtaining one of the documents is still at the polyclinic where you reside, and strictly on medical grounds only.
By Olga Kosyakova