Estonia allows for work incapacity certificates to be opened online

Digilugu.ee

PHOTO: Elmo Riig

Due to the emergency situation declared in Estonia and an anticipated surge in demand for work incapacity certificates, Estonia has temporarily created the possibility for patients to open a certificate for sick leave or care leave via the patient portal at digilugu.ee.

While people can still make a call to their family medicine center, getting in touch with the center may prove difficult as a result of the sudden increase in workload.  

The notification made via the patient portal is forwarded to the Health Insurance Fund, the employer and the family doctor. The sick leave certificate or care leave certificate will be opened automatically on the basis of the application filed by the patient. The person will get a call from the family doctor center within seven days for more details about the condition of the patient and potential symptoms. 

Karmen Joller, board member of the Estonian Family Medicine Association, said that a surge in the need to open sick leave and care leave certificates is expected across Estonia on Monday. 

“In order for us to be able to focus on those who need help the most, we request patients to apply for sick leave certificates and care leave certificates via the patient portal. We are asking only those people who have a health problem and those who do not have a possibility to request the opening of a sick leave or care leave certificate via the patient portal or by e-mail to make a call to the family doctor center,” Joller said

The CEO of the Health Insurance Fund Rain Laane said that a sick leave certificate or a care leave certificate can be sought by people who are ill, who care for a sick child or next-of-kin and that it continues to apply to all illnesses. Likewise, a sick leave certificate can be taken when a person has been in contact with someone with the coronavirus but has not developed symptoms yet.

“The aim is for sick people and people who have been in contact with the disease to be able to stay home and for us to be able to put an end to the spread of the virus together,” Laane said.

Sick leave and care leave benefits will be paid out as usual. 

Katrin Reinhold, manager of the Health and Welfare Information Systems Center (TEHIK) that prepared the online solution, described the development of the novel possibility that was completed effectively in 48 hours over the weekend as an extraordinary project that materialized thanks to hardworking people at their development partner HEISI.

Reinhold said that as the number of people using the service may turn out to be unpredictably big, access by new users will be restricted if necessary to let people who have logged on to the system already to finish their procedures.

“If that happens, we ask users to try again later,” Reinhold said. 

The sick leave certificates and care leave certificates will be opened by default until March 30, 2020. The exact duration of the certificate will be determined in each individual case in the course of the discussion with the family doctor center. 

People encountering technical problems with the service are advised to contact the TEHIK support helpline at +372 7943 943 or by sending an e-mail to abi@tehik.ee.

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