Referrals issued by personal doctors for specialists will only be good for two visits from October 6, the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) said on Monday.
Until now, general health scheme (Gesy) beneficiaries who received a referral from their personal doctor were entitled to three visits to a specialist.
Despite the change in visits allowed, the six-month window in which they can be carried out will remain.
A written announcement said that the decision was based on data collected on the use of referrals by beneficiaries, and was made with Gesy’s efficiency in mind.
“This adjustment should not affect beneficiaries’ access to specialists, as doctors will continue handing out referrals as they deem necessary”.
In case a patient needs more than two visits to a specialist then they will be able to renew their referral for two more visits, it added.
The announcement also said that in case a patient needs long-term supervision by a specialist then their personal doctor can issue a long-term referral entitling the patient to 12 visits, lasting 12 months.