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Sick leaves. ZUS will check employees and doctors

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The Social Insurance Institution is to deal with dishonest employees. Only in the first quarter of this year, ZUS in over 7.5 thousand. cases withholding the payment of sickness benefits. Fraud has consequences and costs dearly. Not only patients but also doctors are to be checked. Material by Maciej Zalewski from the magazine “Polska i Świat”.

In an interview with TVN24, controllers ZUS mention that they sometimes managed to catch inspected employees during renovations. A sick leave does not prevent some from parachuting, taking part in a marathon or riding a mechanical bull.

The War on Left Dismissals

That is why ZUS is going to war with left exemptions. Representatives of the plant admit that it is already a plague. – Certainly parachute jumping, or participation in a marathon or renovation at high altitudes, such hard work, is not the right therapy recommended by a doctor – says Karol Jagielski from the Social Insurance Institution in Szczecin.

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In order to find a fault, the employee must be inspected. There were over 117,000 such inspections in the first quarter alone. Effect? Nearly 8,000 people were suspended from paying benefits amounting to almost PLN 7 million.

– We see that there are people who often take short-term sick leaves or they take exemptions from many doctors, many specializations – explains Krzysztof Cieszyński from the Social Insurance Institution in Gdańsk. He adds that some people are also randomly selected for the control.

Huge costs for employers

There are as many reasons for false dismissals as there are benefits recipients. However, it is worth remembering that any unjustified dismissal carries costs. – If we assume that 7% of dismissals are issued without real justification, it means that employers pay PLN 700 million annually for dismissals without reason – enumerates Kamil Sobolewski from Employers of Poland.

ZUS pays the employee’s absence only when the sick leave lasts longer than 33 days. If it lasts shorter, the employer pays.

– It seems that the conflict of interest in ZUS consists in the fact that it is more profitable for the ZUS to control those persons for whom ZUS is obliged to pay benefits, and not the employer – says Kamil Sobolewski.

A lucrative business

The President of the Supreme Medical Chamber, Łukasz Jankowski, estimates that “they actually made a business out of issuing sick leaves via the Internet and by means of the so-called teleconsultation”.

Therefore, ZUS also plans inspections among doctors who issue sick leave en masse. The next step is to look at websites that print sick leave for a fee, which is also condemned by the Supreme Medical Chamber.

– These are situations that, apart from being a punishable act, also threaten the doctor-patient relationship – assessed Łukasz Jankowski.

Severe penalties and new proposals

– If a doctor issues certificates without examining the patient, he issues hundreds of thousands of them a day, he is threatened with criminal liability for the crime of corruption up to 8 or 10 years in prison, for the crime of falsifying documents up to 5 years in prison – explains Oskar Luty from the Fairfield law firm.

We asked the Ministry of Health about this problem. The Ministry replied that it was aware of the subject and would introduce changes at the statutory level. The proposal is to introduce a minimum time for the patient’s interview. There is also another solution.

– It should be approached systematically. The Supreme Medical Chamber calls for teleconsultation to be provided only by those who also have an entity where the employee can also be examined stationary – proposes Łukasz Jankowski.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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