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Is outpatient medical care provided free of charge and what to do if healthcare workers solicit payment for services?

Specialized outpatient medical care is classified as secondary healthcare provided under Article 35-2 of the Law of Ukraine “The fundamentals of the legislature of Ukraine concerning healthcare”.  It commonly includes the services which a patient can receive without hospitalization (for example, in a policlinic).

Outpatient care is free for the patient upon referral by a family doctor or an attending physician.

Visits to the following specialist physicians do not require a referral from a family doctor:

  •  Pediatrician 
  •  Gynecologist 
  •  Psychiatrist 
  •  Dentist 
  •  Narcologist 
  •  TB physician 

A patient does not need a referral to visit his/her supervising physician.

Next, you need to choose any healthcare facility contracted by the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) to receive the service.

What you need to consider

Starting from April 1, 2021, outpatient care is provided under the “Prevention, diagnostics, monitoring, treatment and rehabilitation in outpatient care facilities” benefit package. This benefit package includes the following services provided free of charge:

  • Consultations by specialist physicians, including, for example, consultations by a surgeon, ophthalmologist, traumatologist, otolaryngologist, and treatment procedures, minor surgical interventions, tests and examinations conducted by these specialists. All these services are provided either in an outpatient clinic or in a day-stay center.
  • Performing the necessary tests, including clinical and biochemical tests, such as complete blood count, blood type and Rh-factor test, blood chemistry profile, rheumatoid factor and CRP tests, RBC count, blood glucose, immunology tests to detect and control communicable and non-communicable diseases, complete urinalysis, etc.
  • Performing necessary instrumental tests, such as X-ray, CT, MRI, sonography, endoscopy, electrocardiography, electroencephalography, ophthalmological tests, etc.
  • Provision of medical care in day-stay centers.
  • Provision of care to patients seeking care in trauma emergency rooms or in hospital admission rooms without further hospitalization.

For full scope of outpatient care services please access NHSU website and select the specification under the relevant benefit package.

It is important to remember that a patient is entitled to free laboratory or instrumental tests he/she is referred to if the healthcare facilities contracted by the NHSU for outpatient care, have the capacities to perform such tests.

How to find out which free services are provided by a certain healthcare facility?

This information is available on the official NHSU website. Patients can access Section “Signed contracts on provision of healthcare services to population” and find out which services are provided by any healthcare facility contracted by NHSU under the Program of Medical Guarantees. The table lists the contracted facilities. You can filter the information using the filter panel on the left, and after selecting the facility, click on the “Service group” title above the table to see the groups of services the facility is contracted by NHSU for.

Conduct of a patient if a healthcare provider solicits payment for outpatient care or refuses to provide care.

  • First of all, approach the chief physician of the healthcare facility, preferably with a written report (complaint), demanding to remedy the violation of right to free medical care under the relevant benefit package, referring to availability of public funding received by the healthcare facility for provision of such services. The complaint must be duly registered, with an incoming registration number assigned.
  • If these efforts were not successful, you need to file a written report (complaint) to the municipal or oblast health department complaining about absence of response by the chief physician and demanding to remedy the violation of the right to healthcare. The healthcare department must duly register the complaint and respond to it. In fact, this is usually enough to correct the situation.
  • If the client remains unsatisfied, he/she can approach the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) and submit a complaint using the online form on the NHSU website. 
  • In case any questions regarding filing a complaint arise, call NHSU contact center toll-free at 16-77.
  • If the client remains unsatisfied, he/she can file a complaint to court.