Like in most European countries, individuals have the right to choose their own family doctor and medicine, but for some reason the Lithuanian Ministry of Health does not believe that patients should have the right to choose medical care providers such as hospitals.
Nearly two years ago the Ministry of Health changed the prescription drug legislation. The changes underline the fact that prescriptions should be given according to the generic active ingredient rather than a specific manufacturerâ€™s product name. The ministry stressed that the changes will provide the patient more freedom of choice.Â So, a person can choose a cheaper product, or the one that helped him previously.
Regarding the recognition of the right to choose the health provider services, for some reason, the ministry of health does not believe that one should have the right of choice. Specifically, one can choose the hospital, but he may have to pay the full price of the service, even if he previously paid the mandatory health insurance contribution. This happens in case the patient selects the hospital to which patients did not fund the contract for hospital services. As it seems, the money follows the patient in the choice for family doctors, but it does not follow him if he wants to choose a different hospital. The consequence of such funding flaws is the fact that private healthcare providers are scarce. If the EU average of private beds per thousand people is 210, in Lithuania it is only 3.
Obstacles to the free human choice is the current contract with medical institutions regarding signing procedures established by the ministry of health. Â You may say that this contract exists in order to protect the institutions form discrimination, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the patient should come first. The problem with the Health Insurance Fund has already drawn attention to the Competition Council, which initiated an investigation.
Are you Lithuanian? Could you please tell us more about this system?
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