Mental care in polyclinics: rules that everyone needs to know


2021 05 25


Recently, health insurance funds have been receiving a number of questions from residents regarding primary mental health services and emotional assistance. Residents are interested in how these services are paid for, where such services are available, or whether patients can choose their own institution and doctor.

Primary mental health care costs are covered by the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund (CHIF). Therefore, health insurance specialists urge people not to rush to seek the services of paid psychologists, but to use the help provided by mental health centres, which is reimbursed by the CHIF.

“Primary mental health care is paid at the annual base price. It is paid to a personal health care facility for each registered resident on a monthly basis, regardless of whether he or she visits a health care facility or not. The CHIF funds received from the institution provide comprehensive, complex mental health care to the registered population,” - says Daiva Berūkštienė, Head of the Service Expertise and Control Division of the National Health Insurance Fund under the Ministry of Health (NHIF).

In order to receive the services of mental health professionals, a resident must apply to the personal health care institution where he or she is registered.

“Residents should find out in advance about their rights and the possibility of receiving primary mental health care free of charge. If a person does not know where to apply for mental health care services, we advise to first contact the institution where his family doctor works”, - reminds the NHIF representative.

It should also be noted that all residents covered by compulsory health insurance have the opportunity to choose not only the institution providing the services of a family doctor, but also a mental health centre. Thus, people who need the help of mental health professionals can confidently seek it not only by phone, online, but also by visiting mental health professionals themselves. There is no need to pay for the services of mental health professionals provided to them in a medical institution if the resident applies to the personal health care institution (PHCI) where he / she is registered.

“For mental health care, you can go to a mental health centre of your choice, where you can make an appointment in advance or when needed. The list of institutions providing these services in your specific municipality should be provided to the person by the institution where he or she is registered with a family doctor - a polyclinic, a family doctor centre, an office or other types of institution”, - says D. Berūkštienė.

According to her, it is not difficult to access services in a mental health care institution, it can be done on arrival at the institution of your choice (the institution where your GP (family doctor), is working or at a mental health centre) or electronically. Applications should only be completed by persons newly recorded at the PHCI, at the GP team providing services, or wishing to change facilities.

There are cases when a resident, by choosing PHCI, does not agree to use the services of a specific psychiatrist working in that institution. In this case, the person is recorded at a PHCI providing primary outpatient mental health care with whom the primary health care institution providing the family doctor team services, has a contract for the provision of primary outpatient mental health care services.

You can change the PHCI or Mental health centre by applying to another selected medical institution. On the basis of such a request, a person is included in the list of registered residents of the newly selected institution, his personal health history (outpatient card) is transferred to the newly selected institution within 3 working days from the date of receipt of the application.

The PHCI and Mental health centre may be changed no earlier than 6 months after the date of registering in the last one. The restriction does not apply to persons who have arrived at a stationary educational institution or who have returned to their permanent place of residence after graduation. If a medical institution is changed earlier than 6 months later, a fee of 2.90 Eur shall be paid for the processing of written documents and the forwarding of medical documents to the selected institution. If the doctor terminates the employment relationship with the PHCI, the administration of the institution must take care of the provision of services to the population. It appoints another doctor, unless the patient himself chooses otherwise. A patient wishing to be treated by a different doctor in the same medical institution must complete an application form.

Patients should be informed separately of any changes to the PHCI, such as a change of a doctor, etc.

The NHIF invites you:

Your questions are welcome by email or phone: local (8 5) 232 2222, international +370 5 232 2222.