Occupational health care
|Organisation and provision of services|
|Goal and content|
|Reimbursements to employers|
|Reimbursements to self-employed persons|
|Amount of the reimbursement|
All employees in Finland have occupational health coverage. Under the Occupational Health Act, employers are required to arrange, at their own expense, professional-level occupational health services for their employees in order to prevent work-related health risks.
Entrepreneurs and other self-employed persons can make voluntary arrangements to ob-tain occupational health services.
Occupational health services are provided by some 1,000 health care organisations around Finland. Employers can purchase occupational health services for their employees from a municipal health centre or other organisation offering occupational health services such as a private medical centre. Their services can also be purchased by self-employed persons.
Employers can also operate an occupational health unit by themselves or in cooperation with other employers.
Goal and content
The goal of occupational health care is to sustain and promote the health and working ability of employees. A good understanding of specific work and workplace conditions is a prerequisite for effective occupational health services.
Occupational health services are planned as a cooperative effort at the workplace by the occupational health professionals, the workplace human resources department and the unit or person responsible for occupational safety and health questions (OSH committee or delegate). Through them, each employee can influence the way occupational health services are implemented.
Before the launch of occupational health activity at a particular workplace, occupational health professionals will first acquire general information about the industry in which the company operates. They will then look more closely at the workplace itself by making fact-finding visits, examining previous occupational safety studies (including data about biological, chemical and physical exposure agents), and learning what physical and psychological risk factors exist in the workplace.
Employees' health status and working ability are evaluated and monitored in medical examinations performed before employment and periodically thereafter as appropriate. The examinations will focus on different criteria depending on job demands, workplace circumstances and individual employees' health characteristics.
Occupational health professionals provide employers and employees information, counselling and guidance about the health risks present in the workplace and about how they can be prevented. They are also expected to refer employees for further treatment or rehabilitation as needed as well as to provide rehabilitation counselling.
Besides occupational health services, employers can choose to offer their employees regular medical services at general practitioner level.
Employers can have part of their occupational health expenses reimbursed to them by filing a claim for reimbursement with the Social Insurance Institution within six months of the end of each accounting period. In the claim, they must classify the expenses and related operational data according to reimbursement class into occupational health services (Reimbursement Class I) and regular medical services (Reimbursement Class II).
Entrepreneurs and other self-employed persons are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of their occupational health care and certain additional medical care they may have purchased. Reimbursement must be claimed on a form available from occupational health service providers within six months of the expense being incurred.
Self-employed persons who purchase their occupational health services from a municipal health centre need only pay their required share of the service cost outright. The rest is paid by the Social Insurance Institution directly to the municipality operating the health centre.
The costs incurred by employers and entrepreneurs are partly reimbursable under the Health Insurance Act. The reimbursement cover 60 % of the cost of occupational health care and 50 % of the "necessary and reasonable" cost of medical care, up to a prescribed limit.