Choosing the place of care

As of 2014, patients have been able to choose  the health centre unit and the specialised care unit among all public health centres and hospitals in Finland. Patients may now choose the hospital their doctor/dentist refers them to, if specialised care or examinations are needed.

Choosing the place of care in mutual understanding with your referring doctor

Your place of care should be chosen in mutual understanding with your referring doctor or dentist. Your referring doctor makes the decision on your specialised medical care and the level of care you require. Patients alone cannot choose the level of care they receive. Patients cannot choose to be treated in university hospitals, if their condition does not require care on university hospital level. Patients cannot choose to be treated in a hospital that does not offer the required services or examinations.

Changing your mind on the place of specialised care

The right to choose the place of specialised care is episodic. You may choose to change your health centre no more than once a year, but this rule does not affect specialised care. The treatment facility will be selected together with the referring physician. If you require specialised health care services more than once a year, you have the chance to choose your place of care each time.

Mental health and substance abuse services

In the Health Care Act, psychiatric care provided under the surveillance of a specialist is classified as specialised medical care. Psychiatric patients are treated in both health centres and units of specialised medical care, and the place of care depends on the level of care required. However, patients are allowed to choose the health centre or unit of specialised medical care they are referred to. Substance abuse services provided by social services are not included in the Health Care Act.

Seeking treatment abroad

The EU Patient Directive ensuring cross-border health care came into effect on 1st January 2014. Patients are allowed to seek medical attention in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland, on the condition that the person has the right to the type of care received. The amount of the reimbursement is equivalent to the amount that would have been reimbursed by the statutory social security system if the care was provided in the homeland.