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The Bill that, among other things, will ensure better protection of patients’ interests with the help of mandatory insurance against damages caused by vaccines passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today.

Under the Bill on the Mandatory Liability Insurance of Health Service Provider (522 SE), initiated by the Government, the systems for patient insurance and compensation for vaccine damages will be created. The Bill will establish patient insurance, which is mandatory liability insurance of providers of health care services. The Bill will provide for the principles and organisation of the mandatory liability insurance of providers of health care services, as well as the bases for and extent of the damage subject to compensation to the patient. The new system will be established with the aim of better protection of the patient and simpler application for compensation. In the case of a damage event where it would have been possible to prevent health damage in the treatment of a patient, the insurance provider will evaluate the circumstances of the claim. The insurance amount will be up to 100,000 euro per injured patient, and 3 million euro per whole one-year period of insurance. The Bill will also establish, among other things, the minimum requirements for the organisation of patient safety. An information analysis system will be established with a view to preventing threat and damage events. According to plan, the patient insurance system will be implemented from 1 July 2024.

Second, the Bill will amend the Medicinal Products Act and provide for vaccine insurance, or mandatory insurance against vaccine damages. The purpose of vaccine insurance is to create a simplified procedure for compensating to people serious damage to their health due to vaccination. This will apply in the case when, as a result of vaccination, a patient suffers from serious damage to their health that lasts for at least four months. Compensation will also be due in the case when vaccination is the probable cause of death of a person. Under the regulation, a person who suffers serious damage to their health after they are vaccinated will have the opportunity to claim compensation for the damage to the extent established by the law and depending on the degree of severity of the damage. Under the vaccine insurance, the distributor of vaccines will have an insurance premium obligation the amount of which will depend on the number of doses distributed for use in Estonia and the premium rate established by the Government. The costs that both the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the State Agency of Medicines will incur in the payment and processing of compensations will be covered from the insurance premiums. The vaccine insurance rules are planned to enter into force from 1 May 2022.

In 2022, the damage events caused by COVID vaccines will be compensated retroactively. From 2023, the system will also extend to other vaccines, including the vaccines included in the immunisation schedule, the vaccines against influenza and tick-borne encephalitis, and “travel vaccines”. The State Agency of Medicines will have to assess the causal relationship between health damage and vaccination. The Agency has been doing that up until now, too, but not for such a purpose or to such an extent.

Third, an opportunity will be created under the Health Insurance Act to also include in a list of diseases, in addition to the diseases treated with medicines with a valid reference price or price agreement, the diseases in the case of which the prices of the medicinal products used to treat the diseases are formed in joint procurements of medicinal products of the European Commission. Upon reimbursement of medicinal products to people, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund will have the opportunity to take into account the prices of medicinal products formed in joint procurements of medicinal products of the European Commission. These are technical amendments but they are important to ensure legal clarity in terms of reimbursement of medicinal products. The amendment concerns the prescription medicines for COVID-19 that are intended to be used in home treatment and are due to arrive on the market in the near future. According to the Bill, these amendments will enter into force from 1 May 2022.

During the debate, Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Hele Everaus (Reform Party) and Andrei Korobeinik (Centre Party) took the floor.

The Riigikogu did not support the adoption of a draft Resolution

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a proposal to the Government of the Republic to establish a fund to compensate for the damages caused by the side-effects of vaccination against coronavirus” (482 OE), submitted by the Faction Isamaa, was intended to task the Government with the establishment of a fund to compensate for the damages caused by the side-effects of vaccination against coronavirus. The vaccination against coronavirus is extensive and the vaccines have been used for a short period of time. Therefore it would have been necessary to establish a separate fund through which the potential damages caused by the side-effects of vaccination would have begun to be compensated.

During the debate, Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) and Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.

A majority vote of the members of the Riigikogu was needed for the draft Resolution to be passed. 31 members of the Riigikogu were in favour of passing the draft Resolution and 25 voted against.

The first reading of a Bill was adjourned

The deliberation of the Bill on Amendments to the Nature Conservation Act and Associated Acts (483 SE), initiated by members of the Riigikogu Heiki Kranich, Peeter Ernits, Erki Savisaar and Andres Metsoja, was adjourned due to the end of the sitting and will continue at tomorrow’s sitting. It is intended to transform the protection of natural values on the shores and banks of bodies of water, to mitigate the current ownership restrictions arising from the Nature Conservation Act, and to reduce the amount and extent of restrictions, without thereby damaging the protection of important natural values and resources.

The first reading of three Bills was postponed to tomorrow

The Bill on Amendments to the State Borders Act (489 SE), initiated by the Faction Isamaa, will provide for creating a legal basis for preventing illegal mass border crossings and attempts to cross the border and for allowing aliens who cross the border to be returned to the foreign countries from or through which they arrive in Estonia. The amendments will provide that, where an illegal mass border crossing occurs, the Police and Border Guard Board will have an obligation, for security considerations, to refuse to accept applications for international protection, and the aliens who cross the border illegally will be returned to the foreign countries from or through which they arrive in Estonia. It will also be provided that, where an illegal mass attempt to cross the border occurs, the Police and Border Guard Board will have an obligation, for security considerations, to prevent it and to refuse to accept applications for international protection.

The Business Register Bill (493 SE), initiated by the Government, will provide for the data composition of the business register, the procedure for making entries and maintaining the register, and the supervision and liability. The purpose of the Bill is to harmonise the registration proceedings for legal persons. The non-profit associations and foundations register will be updated to be a part of the business register, which will make the registration proceedings simpler and clearer both for undertakings and for the registrar. Other major amendments include the amendments concerning private limited company because, according to the Bill, the minimum capital requirement for private limited company will be eliminated and the list of shareholders will begin to be maintained in the business register.

The purpose of the Whistleblower Protection Bill (504 SE), initiated by the Government, is to respond promptly and effectively to acts that are in conflict with the law, in order to ensure the functioning of legal order and the protection of public interests. The Bill will create the conditions for and extent of the protection of whistleblowers who report breaches that become known to them in the course of their work-related activities. The Bill will provide for the personal and material scope of whistleblower protection, the conditions for qualifying for the protection and the extent of the protection, and the ways and channels of reporting. A person qualifies for the protection if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that a breach has been immediately commenced or it has been concluded, the breach falls within the scope of this Act and the reporting takes place in accordance with the Act in question.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Veiko Pesur
Phone: +372 631 6353, +372 5559 0595
E-mail: veiko.pesur@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

 

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