Medical Check-Ups: pay up or leave

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No to Corruption! came across a fait accompli of petty but brazen corruption. Teachers are stripped of their hard-earned money for mandatory medical examinations before the start of the new school year. These mandatory examinations, by law, are supposed to be free of charge. Avoiding them is not an option. It’s “pay up or quit.”

Routine medical examinations are governed by the Laws on “On Health Care,” “On Ensuring Sanitary and Epidemiological Welfare of the Population[3],” “On Protection of Population Against Infectious Diseases,” and “On Labor Protection”.

According to the list of professions, industries and organizations whose employees are subject to mandatory medical examinations, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 23 May 2001 р. № 559 “On the Approval of the List of Professions, Industries and Organizations Whose Employees are Subject to Mandatory Preventive Medical Examinations, Procedures of Such Examinations and Issuing Personal Medical Books [4],” all administrative, teaching and technical staff of schools must undergo mandatory health checks before the new school year in late August. Namely, schoolmasters and their deputies, teachers, medical staff, catering employees, experts involved in the educational process, and technical staff must see the doctors and sanitary epidemiologists as soon as September 1 looms large.

All information on passing the relevant medical tests must be reflected in personal sanitary books. Each school employee has access to their personal sanitary book only for the period of medical checkups. During the rest of the school year, the books are kept inside the schoolmaster’s offices.

Now, let’s look into a specific story. This year, the schoolteachers of Rokytnyansky raion, located in Kyiv’s outskirts, learned that they will have to cough up their hard-earned UAH 37 in order to pass the medical tests at the local sanitary station.

The money had to be paid to a special account in Oschadbank. Educators could be tested for strains of parasites, dysentery, and salmonella only after the money was duly paid and the receipts were sent to SES. Those who made the payment and passed the tests received two stamps in their sanitary books.

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Educators must pay another 45 hryvnia for the so-called psychiatric certificate, which is issued every five years. Prior to the examination, all teachers and other school staff received a note reminding them that they must bring their IDs and pay 45 UAH to the following bank account:

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This is what the medical certificate on passing the required preliminary and periodic psychiatric examinations looks like. It should be noted that Rokytnyansky rayon does not have its own psychiatrist, so a psychiatrist from Vasylkivsky raion came to conduct examinations.

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No to Corruption! sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to ascertain whether school employees are legally bound to pay the amounts of UAH 37 and 45 for medical checkups, or whether these payments are actually related to medical services.

In response, A. Tereshchenko, the Acting Head of the Ministry of Health, explained that in accordance with paragraph 2 of the Order of Mandatory Preventive Medical Examinations, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 23 May 2001 № 559, “The employees of the professions, industries and organizations listed are subject to mandatory preventive medical examinations, their respective procedures, and the issuance of personal medical books.” He added that mandatory medical examinations in private companies are made at the expense of the employer (defined as a company, institution, organization or entrepreneur that uses hired labor).

Meanwhile, the expenses of the health facilities that conduct these mandatory medical examinations are drawn from budgets allocated for for the maintenance of the institutions themselves. Regardless of ownership, employees must reimburse the cost of blank personal books to medical institutions that conduct these requisite medical examinations. If necessary, employees will be asked to purchase a new blank book from their own pocket due to the loss of the former, corruption thereof, or perceived inability to use it.

According to law, the medical examination should be free of charge for schoolmasters, teachers and janitors. The only necessary cost is the one-time payment for the blank health book. What the teachers of Rokytnyansky raion had to pay UAH 37 and UAH 45 for this year is unknown. Further, nobody knows where the money went.

And it is not about the money. Even such small sums should not be paid for nothing.

None of the teachers refused to pay the bills. And only one of the teachers agreed to let No to Corruption! photograph his personal health book, provided his first and last name would not be visible. You know, why ask for trouble?

Times, circumstances and people, they are a-changing; however, not all of them. Especially not in provinces.

Valentina Novitska, No to Corruption!

Photo “No korputsiyi!”