Occupational health services

Does the latest amendment properly reflect real-life needs?

An amendment bill to the Act on Specific Health Services was on the agenda of the legislative council of the government in the first week of May this year. According to the explanatory memorandum for the bill, the proposed changes should reduce the administrative and financial burden on those who are affected by the duties imposed by the said Act.

The amendment is expected to resolve practical matters such as e.g. cases in which the to-be-examined individual does not have a PCP assigned to them (even though an extract from the medical record is among the indispensable requirements for physical examinations). For these cases, the amendment sets forth competencies and rules for the healthcare provider who is in charge of issuing the relevant medical opinion.

Also in response to needs which have arisen in daily practice, the amendment provides an elegant solution in situations in which an extract from the medical record kept by the PCP would normally have to be obtained but may from a professional point of view be done without. In certain of these cases it will therefore be possible to replace the extract from the medical record with a statement by the PCP; in yet other cases, the extract will not be required at all. (However, we will have to wait for the pertinent rules of implementation to be passed, to see which cases will qualify in particular).

Other aspects which the current wording of the Act does not address are the time period during which the PCP must surrender the said extract and the time period for which it may be validly used.

The amendment is also expected to address the difficulties surrounding the procurement of occupational health services for temp workers, and to stipulate the mandatory contents of agreements between employers and occupational health service providers.

In the case of employees who perform work in the first OSH category (i.e., work which is unlikely to have an adverse impact on employee health – usually administrative/office jobs), the employer will be able to send them to their PCP for the entry physical (in which case, the PCP will for these purposes assume the role of the occupational health service provider, irrespective of whether or not they entered into a pertinent agreement with the employer).

The extent to which this amendment will fulfill the intended purpose depends on its final shape at the end of the law-making process, and again as much on the contents of the to-be-adopted rules of its implementation. We will continue to monitor the issue and keep you abreast of all important developments.

Source: Act No. 373/2011 Coll., on Specific Health Services


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