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Doctor submits thousands of work ability assessments within just 10 months

Offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Source: (Eesti Meedia/Scanpix)

Looking at the statistic of the Unemployment Fund (Töötukassa) concerning work ability assessments, a case stands out where a single doctor submitted more than 3,500 assessments over a period of just ten months. The fund's director, Meelis Paavel, commented the case.

According to Paavel, the case at least brings up the issue of quality. The time it takes on average to fill in the according form is typically about an hour and a half, which means that a doctor should be able to fill in some five forms a day, daily Eesti Päevaleht wrote on Wednesday.

Still, looking at the fund's statistics, there is a doctor who submitted 3,522 applications in ten months, or 12.57 a day on average. Keeping in mind that in that period there were 21 working days per month on average, the number rises to 17 forms a day.

"I have to say that in terms of the quality of the decisions [that doctor made], this specific case wasn't among the worst," Paavel said.

A single work ability assessment based on the form costs about €100, if it is based on a doctor's visit some €170. A doctor can expect to earn some €30-40 per form they submit, which means that the busiest doctors can make more than €10,000 a month just doing work ability assessments.

The work ability assessment grades an individual's capacity to work, and is the basis for decisions on the part of the Unemployment Insurance Fund about benefits and the like.

As Päevaleht wrote in December last year, the work itself consists primarily of documentation-based evaluation, i.e. analyzing information on a computer, and drawing up a decision. The average cost of one individual assessment is nearly €100. Prior to the work ability reform, expert analyses cost €4.50 each.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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