When do you need a referral slip from a doctor?

All you need to know about referral slips for medical specialists.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Whether electronic or in paper form, patients still need to use referral slips for now. Thus, it is advisable to know one’s rights and understand how the general practitioner’s (GP’s) recommendation for medical specialists works.

Not every specialist needs to see the referral slip before a treatment, and there are some cases when the patient will not get into the doctor’s office even with a recommendation.

What is a doctor’s recommendation good for?

The recommendation to visit a specialist is filled in for the patient by a general practitioner or another specialist.

Referral slips, called výmenné lístky (singular is výmenný lístok) in Slovak, are a pre-condition for the treatment being covered by the patient's health insurance company. A specialist must be able show the health insurer which doctor sent the patient for expert examination.

The referral slip does not serve just for administrative purposes, however. First and foremost, it should inform the specialist on the patient’s health condition, their examinations so far, as well as the GP’s possible suspicion of a specific illness. A detailed referral slip should save time for both the patient and the specialists, prevent duplicate examinations, and thus speed up the diagnostics and the treatment.

Where the referral slip can be used

College students or people who commute or travel for work do not have to rely just on specialists in the place of their permanent residence.

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