HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY
The Latvian laws state that foreigners may arrive and stay in Latvia if they have a valid health insurance policy that guarantees coverage of costs related to health care in Latvia. You have to produce your health insurance policy in order to receive the temporary residence permit. The term of validity of the policy should not be shorter that the foreigner’s expected period of stay in Latvia and it should guarantee at least the following health care services:
- emergency medical care;
- treatment of a critical condition that is threatening to life and health at hospital;
- transporting to the nearest medical treatment institution in both of the abovementioned cases;
- transporting to return to the country of origin in the event of a severe illness or death.
Health insurance of a private individual may be a solution for receiving of more advantageous health care services. However, it should be taken into account that different insurance companies may have different insurance conditions and offer different coverage of the costs of health care services. It is possible that health care services that are not covered by one insurer are covered fully or partly by another insurer. Therefore we advise that you contact several insurance companies before purchasing your health insurance policy in order to find the insurance conditions that suit you best. You should also find out at the insurance company what you have to do when you wish to use your policy.
ACQUISITION OF MEDICINES
In ensuring the rights of patients, differential treatment based on a person’s race, ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, age, disability, state of health, religious, political or other persuasion, national or social origin, property or marital status or other circumstances is prohibited. Differential treatment shall include the direct or indirect discrimination of a person, infringement of a person or an implication to discriminate him or her ( Law On the Rights of Patients).
Medicines may be purchased at pharmacies. To buy some medicines, a doctor’s prescription is required, other medicines are sold over the counter. Before taking a medicine, please consult with a doctor or pharmacist (pharmacy employee).
How to behave in a hospital:
What you can or cannot do upon arrival at a hospital is specified in the “Internal Code of Conduct for Hospital Patients”. These rules may vary from hospital to hospital, according to their specifics. The Internal Code of Conduct mainly specifies:
- general rules;
- the procedure for admission to the hospital;
- the treatment process;
- payment types and procedures to be made by the patient;
- rights of the patient;
- responsibilities of the patient;
- hospital hygiene rules;
- hospital patients’ schedule;
- the procedure for visiting hospital patients;
- catering arrangements;
- patient property issues;
- procedures for submission of patient proposals and complaints;
- patient activity restriction aspects.
For the specific Hospital Internal Code of Conduct, see links provided in the previous section.
Duties of Patient
(1) A patient has a duty to take care of his or her health.
(2) If the state of health of the patient allows it, he or she has a duty to become actively involved in medical treatment and to provide the attending physician with information within the limits of his or her abilities and knowledge:
1) which is necessary for ensuring medical treatment;
2) regarding his or her diseases, which may endanger the life or health of other persons;
3) regarding previously provided consents and refusals in relation to medical treatment; and
4) regarding any changes to the state of health, which have occurred during medical treatment.
(3) The internal rules of procedure of a medical treatment institution and the instructions of the medical practitioner are binding to the patient.
(4) When registering in a medical treatment institution or receiving medical treatment, a person shall, upon the request of a medical practitioner, present a personal identification document, except in the case when emergency medical care is provided to the patient and he or she is unable to present such document due to his or her state of health. The patient shall present the personal identification document as soon as it is possible.
(5) A patient has a duty to pay for the received health care services in accordance with the procedures laid down in the laws and regulations regarding the organisation and financing of health care.
(6) When implementing his or her rights, a patient and a person representing the patient has a duty to respect the rights of other patients ( Law On the Rights of Patients).
Right to Information
(1) A patient has the right to information regarding the opportunities for the receipt of health care services and the procedures for the payment for health care services. This information shall be available to the public.
(2) A patient has the right to know the given name, surname, position, profession, specialisation and qualification of attending physicians and other medical practitioners involved in the health care process.
(3) A patient has the right to receive information regarding his or her state of health from the attending physician, including regarding the diagnosis, the plan for medical treatment, examination and rehabilitation of the disease, the prognosis and consequences, the functional restrictions caused by the disease and the opportunities for prophylaxis, as well as the right to receive information after examinations and surgical or other type of invasive intervention performed within the framework of medical treatment regarding the results of the medical treatment, regarding the previously unforeseen outcomes and the reasons thereof.
(4) A patient has also the right to receive information regarding medical treatment from other medical practitioners involved in his or her medical treatment in accordance with their competence.
(5) A patient shall be provided with information in a comprehensible manner, explaining medical terms and taking into account the age, maturity and experience of the patient.
(6) A patient has the right, after medical treatment or termination of any phase thereof (for example, discharge from a medical treatment institution), to receive information regarding the medical services provided to him or her and the justification for the termination of medical treatment, as well as the results of diagnostic examinations and functional assessments (extracts, true copies and copies), instructions and recommendations in relation to further treatment and social services and, if necessary due to the state of health of the patient, to receive a referral to another medical treatment institution for continuation of medical treatment.
(7) Information need not be provided to a patient only in such case if such information or facts are at the disposal of the physician that the receipt of the information significantly threatens the life or health of the patient or other persons.
(8) A patient has the right to refuse the receipt of the information referred to in this Section. He or she shall express his or her refusal thereof in oral or written form or by such actions which unequivocally confirm this ( Law On the Rights of Patients, https://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=203008).
A patient has the right to receive, in a manner that they understand, the doctor’s information, about their diagnosis, examination and treatment plan, and other treatment methods, prognosis and treatment process. A patient may fully or partly refuseoffered examinations or treatment, confirming such refusal with their signature. Complaints regarding the quality of healthcare services may be submitted to the Health Inspectorate (www.vi.gov.lv).
Regardless of their status, all residents of Latvia have access to free doctor’s advice via telephone, provided in Latvian, English and Russian languages. The service is provided by the National Health Service (Nacionālais Veselības dienests, NVD) on business days from 17.00 till 8.00, as well as round the clock on weekends and holidays. To receive this service, call 66016001.
Further information about the healthcare system in Latvia can be obtained from the National Health Service website www.vmnvd.gov.lv, as well as by calling 80001234 on business days from 8.30 till 17.00 or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.