The Central Criminal Police has arrested two hospital managers, Mark Levin and Mare Leppik. Levin is in charge of the nursing clinic of the West Tallinn Central Hospital, Leppik is the clinic's staff nurse. The two are suspected of having accepted bribes of patients' relatives "repeatedly and systematically."
According to ERR's Aktuaalne kaamera newscast, Levin and Leppik let patients' relatives pay them for preferred treatment. While still paid for by the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa), the patients in question were treated sooner or outside the established waiting line altogether.
The rule is that any patient who wants an appointment with a specialist needs to wait until a publicly funded time slot is available. Waiting lines can only be skipped if an appointment is paid for by the patient, and only in the case of some clinics and doctors, not all of them.
The Central Criminal Police as well as the prosecutor in charge of the case confirmed to ERR that Levin and Leppik are suspects in at least 25 different bribery cases involving at least another 20 suspects.
Levin and Leppik already quit their jobs
According to the hospital's press spokeswoman, Liisa Suba, both Levin and Leppik quit their jobs already on Tuesday. Director of the West Tallinn Central Hospital, Imbi Moks, said that corruption at the hospital is "intolerable."
"What happened is very regrettable, there's no place at a hospital for someone suspected of corruption," Moks said. "We expect the authorities to get behind what happened, and we're fully cooperating with the police to help getting the matter sorted out," she added.
Until suitable replacements are found for Levin and Leppik, the nursing clinic will be run by Moks and the hospital's head nurse, Aivi Kabur.
The West Tallinn Central Hospital is the result of a merger of several medical institutions in the capital. The hospital belongs to the City of Tallinn. It can treat more than 500 stationary patients at any given time and employs a staff of 1,700.
The hospital's nursing clinic has 150 beds, 118 of which are funded by Haigekassa. The clinic's staff includes two doctors, 46 nurses, 66 caretakers, and one ergotherapist.
Editor: Dario Cavegn