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18 December 2020

Bulgaria: First legislative amendments introducing telemedicine/telehealth

On 16 December the Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted a Decree amending the local Ordinance for exercising the right of access to medical care.

It concerns medical activities covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. This is the first attempt at national legislation regulating electronic referrals and prescriptions.

According to the amendments, in case of a state of emergency or an epidemic, primary care physicians (i.e. general practitioners) will be able to issue electronic referrals for medical diagnostic tests to patients from their registry for the purpose of establishing whether infection has occurred. The referrals will be issued without a physical examination of the patient, but after a distance consultation and considering the patient's medical history. In addition, GPs will be allowed to sign electronic prescriptions.

The electronic referrals and prescriptions will be issued and stored through specialised medical and pharmacy software, which is already available for the medical establishments (medical centres, hospitals, etc.) and pharmacies that have concluded a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund.

The adopted changes will facilitate outpatient and inpatient care as well as the access of people with health insurance to consultations, medical diagnostic tests, medicinal products, medical devices and dietetic foods for special medical purposes.

author: Elena Todorova