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What should you do if health professionals solicit payment for medical care and services?

The REAct Project starts posting publications to inform what services are provided free of charge and guaranteed by the government, on what basis these services can be obtained, and how to ensure that the health facility receives the appropriate funding to provide the services, and how the patient should act in case his/her right to healthcare is violated.

The right to free healthcare in public and communal health facilities is secured by the legislature of Ukraine (Art. 49 of the Constitution of Ukraine), which is a well-known fact. However, in fact, cases are common when people seeking care face are rejected by healthcare providers. This is a violation of the right to healthcare resulting in misunderstandings and conflicts.

What you need to consider

First of all, you need to know that the Program of Medical Guarantees was approved by the Government and launched on April 1, 2020 in Ukraine. It guarantees patients a certain scope of free medical services. Healthcare providers have transitioned to the new healthcare funding system, including the vast majority of municipal, rayon and oblast policlinics contracted by the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) for financing of medical service delivery. The Program of Medical Guarantees secures a clear scope of legally guaranteed services provided free of charge to patients (a guaranteed package, or a benefit package, according to international medical practice). The reason behind this reform of the existing free healthcare system was budget deficit and the so-called healthcare rationalization. The program of medical guarantees is based on the principle of prioritization. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine endorsed the Order on priority areas of healthcare sector development for 2020-2022. These areas were included in the Program of Medical Guarantees envisaging a number of state-guaranteed medical benefit packages. The provision of services included in these packages is funded by the Government.

Please note that Healthcare includes emergency care; primary healthcare; secondary (specialized) healthcare (outpatient); tertiary (highly specialized) healthcare (in most cases, inpatient); palliative care. Each patient is entitled to admission to any health facility of choice if is it justified by the patient’s condition and the facility has the capacities to ensure appropriate treatment. In context of free healthcare services, such treatment must be provided based on the content of the relevant medical benefit package.