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Turkey publishes the Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services and the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers

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The Ministry of Health (“Ministry“) has recently published the Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services and the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers.

Please click on the relevant link below for our specific notes regarding the recent developments:

What does the Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services bring?
What Does the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers Introduce?

What does the Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services bring?

New Development

The Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette on 10 February 2022. The Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services sets forth the procedures and principles regarding the provision of remote health services regardless of location as well as the supervision of health facilities. The regulation is available here (in Turkish).

What’s New?

The main regulations within the scope of the Regulation on the Provision of Distance Health Services are as follows:

  • Health facilities that wish to provide distance health services must obtain a distance health service activity permit from the Ministry. Healthcare facilities cannot provide remote healthcare services in a field where they are not authorized or that are not regulated under the regulation. Authorized healthcare facilities can provide distance health services via the distance health information system created or registered by the Ministry.
  • Services such as examination, medical observation, counseling, control of diagnosed diseases, psychosocial support services, medical procedures to protect the health of individuals against an endemic disease or during epidemics, e-prescription and e-report issuance can be provided remotely, to the extent that distance service provision is suitable. Additionally, certain interventional or surgical operation services may be provided remotely, provided that the permission of the Ministry is obtained and to the extent that the technological conditions are suitable.
  • Prior to the provision of the distance healthcare service, the patient should be informed about the service and that their personal data with information such as the identity and expertise of the healthcare professional, the fact that the distance healthcare service cannot be the equivalent of a face-to-face healthcare service and personal data of the patient can be stored in accordance with the relevant laws.
  • The healthcare facility and healthcare professional are responsible for protecting the privacy and personal data of the patient during the provision of distance healthcare services. In this context, an image or sound can only be recorded with the explicit consent of the parties. Such records can be stored for a maximum of 12 months.
  • Healthcare facilities whose health services violate the regulation can be subject to various sanctions such as a warning, an instruction to remedy the violation in a given period, the termination of the service and the withdrawal of the authorization certificate.

What Does the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers Introduce?

New Development

On 10 February 2022, the Ministry published the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers. The Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers sets forth regulations regarding the categorization of health service providers established by public institutions and organizations, legal entities and real persons. The regulation is available here (in Turkish).

What’s new?

As per the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers, health service providers are categorized as follows:

  • Healthcare institutions such as family health and community health centers, workplace health units, clinics and private oral and dental health centers, where outpatient or inpatient diagnosis and treatment are performed, are first-grade health service providers.
  • Healthcare institutions such as private hospitals, oral and dental health hospitals, public hospitals and medical centers where outpatient or inpatient diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation services are provided are second-grade health service providers.
  • Third-grade health service providers are high-tech hospitals, such as university hospitals, where education and research services can be provided for diseases that require advanced examination and special treatment. An application along with an application file should be submitted to the Ministry for hospitals to be third grade. Hospitals that meet the conditions such as area, bed capacity, minimum number of physicians and sub-branches of specialization can be categorized as third grade by the Ministry.

As per the Regulation on the Cascading of Health Service Providers, the units to be determined according to the category of the health service provider can be added as a subordinate unit to the operating permit of the relevant health service provider.

Conclusion

The Ministry continues to introduce regulations for companies working in the healthcare industry. Companies should carefully review the relevant laws and take the necessary actions to ensure compliance.