In Lithuania, the constitutional right to free medical treatment is just a formality. In fact much of the health care services provided are paid from the pockets of the patients. The fact that medical institutions are illegally robbing the funds allocated for healthcare is no secret for the family members of the ill, to the Ministry of Health and the State Patient Fund (SPF). However not much is done to resolve this delicate matter.
The examination of the Thyroid costs 9 euro, a sonogram costs 15 euro, and without a prescription from your doctor it can cost around 50 euro. The drugs cost at least 30 euro, and thatâ€™s just the start of the treatment. Sestokiene Gitana suffers from kidney stones. She says she does not understand why she has to pay the compulsory health insurance (CHI) fee, if she canâ€™t get help in her time of need. This is the second month sheâ€™s been waiting for her ultrasound examination, a procedure recommended to undertake in maximum 10 days, also she might have to wait for another month. The family doctor recommended her to call the ambulance if anything bad happens that puts her in a life threatening situation, since non-life threatening cases are best handled by private institutions.
â€œThank God that I have a job and I can afford the treatment. But what if I was a pensioner? What would people do if they are currently jobless? Surprisingly it has come so far that hospitals only treat life threatening situations.â€
â€œWe do not have enough money allocated for treatment and diagnosis of oncological diseases. There is simply no money. Not anyone can afford to pay 30-60 euro to make sure that they are not suffering of anything. Patients with malignant diseases should have savingsâ€¦ It is true that drugs can be reimbursed for any of them, but not all patients live near the hospital or even in the city, and travel costs are not reimbursed. Also with such a disease people are not fit to travel and not able to workâ€, Stated cancer patient Ingrid Pasvenskiene.
Health â€“ a matter of money
â€œIt is only a declaration that the treatment in Lithuania is free. In fact the same patient pays for health several times: once to the CHI, then there are the travel costs to the doctor and then the possibility that the drugs you need wonâ€™t be reimbursed. Regarding the so called free treatment, there is only one thing I can state: There are no satisfied patients in Lithuaniaâ€
Patients in the medical institutions are often manipulated. For example, a doctor warned that the study will have to wait a month and a half, however if you agree to pay for it, it can start in a week. Even if the SPF compensates for a cure for the disease, it is usually the cheapest treatment possible.
â€œThey say that asthmatics are lucky, because the medicines are reimbursed. However, the treatment even for just a week can cost from 60 to 600 eurosâ€, E. Kvedaraite asthma patient.
â€œThe treatment has become a service. These services are physically out of control, while useful and profitable.â€
You could say that every time you open the door of a medical institution you also have to open your wallet.
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