The opinions of the key health care stakeholders towards patient payments in Lithuania
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Patient payments are considered to be a significant issue in health policy in Lithuania. Despite the unclear legislative framework, health care institutions are asking patients to co-pay (contribute) for services provided to them. Thus, patients and providers are facing challenging situation in legal, ethical and financial terms. The aim of the study was to evaluate the opinions and attitudes towards patient payments in Lithuania. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were applied in the study – focus group discussions and in-depth interviews combined with a self-administrated questionnaire filled in by each participant. The results suggest that there is no consistent policy on patient payments in Lithuania. Health care consumers are rather resistant towards the introduction of payments (they support fees only in case of services with better quality). Health care providers sustain patient payments considering the needs of health professionals and health care institutions. Health policy makers and health insurance representatives remain dispersal in their opinions. More conceptual and strategic thinking in defining the aims of patient payment policies in Lithuania and its governance is needed.
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