Pihlajalinna Oyj:Jokilaakso hospital in the scope of freedom of choice
Pihlajalinna Plc: press release 20 January 2016 at 12.00 (EET)
Pihlajalinna Plc: Jokilaakso hospital in the scope of freedom of choice
The Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen has made a decision on the 30 January 2015 in a complaint issue concerning the opinion of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to the City of Tampere about the status of the Jokilaakso hospital being in the scope of the freedom of choice of patients. City of Tampere had asked the ministry on the 30 July 2013 whether the Jokilaakso hospital operated by Jokilaakson Terveys Oy, a joint-company owned by Pihlajalinna Terveys Oy, the City of Jämsä and the Central Finland Hospital District could be regarded as a municipal specialty care unit which patients can choose based on the healthcare act section 47.
In its opinion on 24 March 2014 the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said that Jokilaakso hospital could not be considered to be a municipal specialty care unit within the scope of the freedom of choice. The opinion was based on the Ministry's view that Jokilaakso hospital is a primary care unit and thus not within the freedom of choice of specialty care. According to the decision of the Parliamentary Ombudsman the opinion of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is incorrect.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman states it his decision that the wording of the healthcare law doesn't exclude from the freedom of choice the specialty care that is organized in connection to the municipality's primary care. If it was the meaning of the healthcare act that only the hospitals operated by hospital districts and other units mentioned in the specialty care law should have be included in the scope of the freedom of choice, there should have been a specific mention in the law about it according to the Ombudsman. Therefore Jokilaakso hospital is in the scope of the freedom of choice and all Finnish and other EU member state citizens can thus choose Jokilaakso hospital as their specialty care unit regardless of their place of residence.
In addition to the Jokilaakso hospital the decision makes it possible for also the other specialty care units operated by Pihlajalinna or its subsidiaries to treat public specialty care patients. This decision confirms Pihlajalinna's view that a municipality has the right to organize specialty care services also to other municipalities' residents in addition to its own residents. Patients can together with their doctor choose the service provider of the municipal specialty care from the hospital districts and also from municipalities' own specialty care units. Pihlajalinna acts as a significant specialty care service provider in its municipal partner's specialty care units. Ombudsman's decision enables fast, cost efficient and high quality specialty care services according to the EU freedom of choice act. Indications for treatment are similar in all public specialty care units and are based on national clinical guidelines.
Mikko Wirén, toimitusjohtaja, Pihlajalinna Oyj, 050 322 0927
Terhi Kivinen, SVP, Communications, Marketing and IR, Pihlajalinna Oyj, +358 40 848 4001, firstname.lastname@example.org
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