MEASURES INTRODUCED IN 2020
Since there is no patient cost-sharing for publicly financed health care services in Poland, all people are entitled to free health care services related to prevention and treatment of COVID-19, including tests, transportation and medical services (see also Sections 1.5 and 3.2). This right is also extended to those who are not covered by insurance in the NHF. In mid-April, regulations on the financing of COVID-19 testing among patients and medical staff (including medical students) of all hospitals were specified, securing their right to publicly financed testing upon being referred for testing on the grounds of suspected infection. Nevertheless, in practice, individuals who are not insured and thus not enrolled on GP patients lists, face difficulties in obtaining referrals to be tested for SARS-Cov-2 infection.
Insufficient testing capacity has also been a problem. To increase access to free testing by people in quarantine, drive-thru testing points were launched in May. One has to use their own car to get to these testing points (see Section 1.5 Testing). The number of such points has been constantly increasing (particularly in last months), and at present (end of October), there are 545 points across the country.
People who can afford it, can get tested for coronavirus in the laboratories that offer commercial tests. These are often the same laboratories which provide testing within a publicly financed system. The price of commercial RT-PCR molecular tests ranges from PLN 500 to PLN 600, while the price of antigen testing is usually less than PLN 250. In May, the government announced the plan to regulate the market of commercial tests in order to ensure their quality and guarantee that publicly financed testing is prioritized. Yet, no such regulation has been adopted so far. Outpatient medicines, which people might purchase due to a SARS-Cov-2 infection might be subject to cost-sharing or full payment (OTC medicine), in line with the general regulations on the reimbursement of medicines.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March, many patients could consult their physicians (particularly primary care physicians) only via phone. This has raised concerns that access and quality of care have been compromised, which have been confirmed by the results of NHF’s quality checks. Thus, in order to monitor the provision of primary care, as of beginning of September, all teleconsultations and regular visits need to be reported to the NHF.
Ustawa z dnia 2 marca 2020r.o szczególnych rozwiązaniach związanych z zapobieganiem, przeciwdziałaniem i zwalczaniem COVID-19, innych chorób zakaźnych oraz wywołanych nimi sytuacji kryzysowych.
Rozporządzenie Ministra Zdrowia z dnia 12 marca 2020 r. w sprawie sposobu i trybu finansowania z budżetu państwa świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej wykonywanych w związku z przeciwdziałaniem COVID-19.
Rozporządzenie Ministra Zdrowia z dnia 15 kwietnia 2020 r. zmieniające rozporządzenie w sprawie ogólnych warunków umów o udzielanie świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej.
Zarządzenie Nr 32/2020/DSOZ 08-03-2020 w sprawie zasad sprawozdawania oraz warunków rozliczania świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej związanych z zapobieganiem, przeciwdziałaniem i zwalczaniem COVID-19 (tekst ujednolicony z dnia 01.07.2020).
Zarządzenie Nr 131/2020/DSOZ 25-08-2020 zmieniające zarządzenie w sprawie warunków zawarcia i realizacji umów o udzielanie świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej w zakresie podstawowej opieki zdrowotnej.
Zarządzenie Nr 159/2020/DSOZ 09-10-2020 zmieniające zarządzenie w sprawie zasad sprawozdawania oraz warunków rozliczania świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej związanych z zapobieganiem, przeciwdziałaniem i zwalczaniem COVID-19.
Zarządzenie Nr 160/2020/DSOZ 14-10-2020 i Zarządzenie Nr 161/2020/DSOZ 15-10-2020 zmieniające zarządzenie w sprawie zasad sprawozdawania oraz warunków rozliczania świadczeń opieki zdrowotnej związanych z zapobieganiem, przeciwdziałaniem i zwalczaniem COVID-19.
https://pacjent.gov.pl/punkty-pobran [access online 27.10.2020]
https://www.uokik.gov.pl/aktualnosci.php?news_id=16450 [access online 17.06.2020]
https://serwisy.gazetaprawna.pl/zdrowie/artykuly/1492069,koronawirus-przychodnia-ubezpieczenie-pacjenta.html [access online 27.10.2020]
While the number of drive-thru testing points has been constantly increasing, with 545 points set up across the country by the end of October, their number is not sufficient to meet the increasing needs. As a result, people have to queue for many hours to be tested at drive-thru testing points. To further improve the access to testing, in the mid-October, the NHF started paying for extended working hours of drive-thru testing points as well as of mobile teams taking biological samples for testing. Also, in November antigen tests were approved for use to detect SARS-Cov-2 infection.
Since October, due to the rapidly increasing number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and those requiring hospitalization, spare hospital capacity to treat new patients has been substantially reduced. There have been reported cases of hospitals refusing to admit COVID-19 patients, including in life-threatening condition. To address this issue, the NHF will reduce hospital payment for readiness to provide hospitalization in case of an unjustified refusal to admit a patient requiring hospitalization.
Access to health care services for non-COVID-19 patients has been limited due to reduced provision of services in the time of pandemic (e.g. cancelation or postponing of planned services). Providers operating in the private sector have also increased prices of their services (particularly dental services) to compensate for the reduced revenues and additional costs of protection measures against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
On December 27, Poland began its national immunization programme against COVID-19. The Ministry of Health has ensured that the COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all citizens as well as all legal residents (i.e. individuals holding temporary or permanent residence card). This is of relevance for a large number of Ukrainian citizens who live and work or study in Poland. For more information on the vaccination programme see section titled “Vaccine services and delivery”.
https://www.gov.pl/web/szczepimysie/raport-szczepien-przeciwko-covid-19 [access online 04.02.2021]