Indicating Fields of Inequalities Regarding the Access to Health Benefits: Activity of the Watch Health Care Foundation

Indicating Fields of Inequalities Regarding the Access to Health Benefits: Activity of the Watch Health Care Foundation

Krzysztof Landa (Watch Health Care Foundation, Poland) and Karolina Skóra (Watch Health Care Foundation, Poland)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijrqeh.2012040104
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Abstract

Restrictions to health services in Poland have been an inspiration to establish Watch Health Care Foundation (WHC). The fundamental disease of the system is namely the disproportion between the amount of the funds and the contents of the package. It causes everywhere the same ’symptoms’ and leads to the same pathological phenomena: queues and other forms of rationing (’guaranteed’) health benefits, corruption, making use of privileges. Foundation uses the potential of information society and available infrastructure (web portal http://www.watchealthcare.eu) and all activities are presented on the website with the aim of influencing the health care system. On the basis of reports of limited access to health services, a ranking is created at WHC web portal, which aims to show what the biggest gaps in access to health services are - this is the way of showing the patient and health care system needs and also one possible approach of continuous education of the health care services consumers targeted at health care systems improvement.
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The Inspiration For Establishing The Foundation - Fundamental Disease Of The Health Care System In Poland

The need of 'introducing a guaranteed benefits package' has been postulated repeatedly until 2009 in Poland, on the occasion of all subsequent parliamentary and presidential elections. Creating the package de novo was to be the panacea that would heal the health system of all woes. What was misunderstood was the concept that Poland has long had a functioning package, ever since the introduction of a universal health security system - the question was what1 that package was like. Any country that introduces a health insurance system or a health security system must almost automatically determine what the insured are entitled to or possibly what they are not entitled to, in order to collect funds for this purpose (Władysiuk-Blicharz, Łanda, Nadzieja, Gąsiorowski, & Dziadyk, 2006).2

Thanks to the so-called Benefit Package Act3, which was prepared by the Ministry of Health and signed by the President of the Republic of Poland, discussions about the need to create a guaranteed services package in Poland4 were once and for all terminated. This allows the social dialogue to finally move forward. There will be no more futile discussions about the need to create a package and a constructive debate about the form of the guaranteed services package, improving the functionality and rules of creating its individual parts will begin, as well as the package's role for the development of additional insurances in Poland.

In accordance with the Benefits Package Act in Poland, the content of particular parts of the guaranteed benefits package is determined by the Minister of Health by way of appropriate regulations. These regulations regard, i.e., therapeutic health programmes, outpatient specialist care, primary health care, inpatient care, lists of reimbursed medicines, the highly specialized benefits, mandatory vaccinations, etc.

Thanks to the Benefits Package Act, the so called package regulations were introduced; they determine what a person entitled to services from the guaranteed benefits package is actually entitled to. This means that all the health benefits that are not listed in the regulations are not included in the package, therefore they cannot be financed from public funds (although they may be funded on a different basis).

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