Some Poles travel abroad to receive medical services: daily

The Czech Republic, Germany and Lithuania are the most popular destinations for Poles who travel abroad to receive medical services whose costs are reimbursed by the National Health Fund (NFZ), according to the Polish “Rzeczpospolita” daily.

The newspaper reported on Wednesday that the most common procedure performed abroad is cataract surgery and that in 2018 the Czech Republic performed as many as 98.5 percent of those surgeries, whose costs were covered by the NFZ.

Marcin Pakulski, former head of the NFZ explained that one reason for this was the long waiting lists in Poland, which sometimes required patients to wait for periods of more than one year.

Therefore, Poles are taking advantage of the cross-border directive, wherein EU citizens have the right to access healthcare in any EU country and to be reimbursed for care abroad by their home country, he added.

Deputy Health Minister Maciej Miłkowski told the daily that handling requests for reimbursement of the medical expenses is costly and time-consuming for the NFZ.

Marek Rękas, of the Warsaw-based Military Medical Institute, expressed hope that as waiting times decrease, the number of trips abroad will also decrease.

According to the daily, in 2018, there were 1.26 percent fewer procedures carried out abroad than a year earlier.