Fonasa to implement electronic medical leave system in April

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chilean public health insurer Fonasa will begin implementing its electronic medical leave system in April, according to a press release from the insurer.

The new system will aim to avoid potential bad practices in granting medical leave and compensation, while also making the process easier on workers, according to Fonasa.

Initially, the system will be mainly used by Fonasa Libre Elección providers, clinics and some public hospitals. According to Fonasa national director Mikel Uriarte, the insurer plans to connect the entire public healthcare network to the system by year's end.

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Fonasa said the system will optimize the inspection process and facilitate monitoring of spending on medical leave compensation. Additionally, abandoning the paper system will lead to operational savings, according to the insurer.

According to Uriarte, workers will benefit from the system as they will not have to turn in paper forms, saving both time and money. The system will also allow workers to verify the status of their leaves electronically .

For employers, Uriarte said they will receive electronic notification of their workers' absence in a timely manner, allowing for quick, economic and efficient processing.

As for healthcare professionals, Uriarte said that besides helping to avoid the bad practices of some doctors - such as issuing excessive medical leaves - the system will also allow them to review electronically the leaves they have granted.

The initiative comes after Fonasa filed a legal complaint in early February against doctors said to be issuing excessive medical leaves. Fonasa found 429 doctors who granted more than 1,000 medical leaves annually, totaling 733,000 in 2010.

Additionally, Labor minister Evelyn Matthei has given a list to Chilean tax office SII containing the names of 115 doctors who in 2009 issued more than 1,600 medical leaves, as detected by social security ministry Suseso.