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Innovations in orthopaedy: better accessibility for patients and stricter conditions for companies
Persons requiring orthopaedic technical aids now have to go less often to medical doctors for referrals to specialists. Extension of their validity is expected to reduce queues to doctors, improve the availability of orthopaedic products, and save patient time.
From now on, diabetes patients who need orthopaedic footwear will no longer need to seek the advice of an endocrinologist so often. Footwear is prescribed to such patients every 6 months if necessary. Meanwhile, every time it was changed, a doctor's specialist referral had to be issued. From now on, if a patient needs a second pair of footwear in 12 months, there will be no need to contact the endocrinologist again – the referrals will be valid for one year. These changes were introduced by the order of the Minister of Health Aurelijus Veryga.
Good news for women wearing breast prostheses as well. Such a prosthesis is prescribed for a year after breast removal surgery. This can be done by a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, an orthopaedic traumatologist, a surgeon, a physiotherapist and a rehabilitation doctor. From now on, the family doctor will have the right to prescribe breast prostheses, too.
Another innovation should dispel doubts about the timing of radiological examination. Experts point out that many orthopaedic technical devices, which were reimbursed from the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF), are subject to the additional condition that the diagnosis be confirmed radiologically. To date, no time limits have been set for the validity of the results of such a test. This has now been legalised with a validity for 2 years. This means that in order to buy a new orthopaedic device, the radiological examination will have to be repeated after 2 years – to make sure that the diagnosis has not changed.
Simultaneously, measures have been introduced to discipline abusive orthopaedic companies producing orthopaedic aids and doctors prescribing them. Following the tightening of the procedure for prescriptions for these aids, from now on all data on diagnoses for which an orthopaedic device is prescribed will have to be recorded in Sveidra compulsory health insurance information system.
As there is still a risk of abuse by orthopaedic companies in the field of orthopaedic technical aids, the conditions for terminating contracts with unscrupulous companies are being tightened. In addition, there is a possibility of suspending the contracts, for example, after registration of the examination certificate or receiving information from competent authorities about the company's alleged criminal activity which may have caused damage to the health insurance fund. Companies wishing to enter into contracts will be required to provide more documents to demonstrate their transparency.
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Innovations in orthopaedy: better accessibility for patients and stricter conditions for companies