Brussels annual medical check-up: never going back to normal?

*Update 26.01.2023 CSC plenary: only around 1/3 of all staff do the annual medical. Note, this is obligatory but not enforced.*

*Update 16.01.2023 Brussels medical service is moving towards colleagues doing their annual check-up via their GP. Contact them for the paperwork in advance to ensure that the visit is reimbursed as an annual check-up (100%) and not as a standard reimbursement (85%). *

*Update 11.10.2022 Covid booster II campaign is starting soon (again medical service in Brussels and national authorities elsewhere) and flu vaccine is already available on some sites*

The Medical Service Brussels resumed its task of annual medical check-ups in June 2022, albeit in a very limited way.  Any staff not in ‘high-risk professions’ must go via their own doctor, with a corresponding ceiling of €45 (100% reimbursement) for that visit. This raises questions on efficiency: how much paperwork does this generate? Have some 21000 Brussels-based staff now to familiarise themselves with new (temporary?) rules and processes? There are questions on transparency: which parts of the check-up are reimbursed at 100% and which at 85%? [1]?   What about managing expectations: is this the ‘new normal’?  Consider that many Brussels-based staff will have had no annual check-up since 2020, surely the ideal would be to encourage staff to have a check-up rather than to place obstacles in the way!  Even from a purely numbers point of view: what additional impact might there be for the JSIS related to illnesses that the annual check-up would normally be expected to pick up?

There is some detail missing from this new process as set out on MyIntracomm:

  • an exhaustive list of ‘high-risk professions’ (a search of MyIntracomm returns only the same article): ‘e.g. drivers, security guards, nursery staff, kitchen staff, staff on delegation and returning from delegation, interpreters, printers shop workers, etc.’)
  • a list of providers willing and able to do the check-up for €45 maximum (have any of you managed to do this for €45? Let us know!)
  • a mention that staff are entitled to 100% reimbursement of the laboratory test costs as part of the annual medical visit (this is separate from the €45)
  • instructions on how to declare the annual-medical-check-up time in sysper (the annual check-up is normally work time [2])
  • how long this new annual-medical-via-own-doctor procedure is expected to be in place (i.e. is this a workaround or the ‘new normal’? For comparison, the Luxembourg Medical Service resumed service in August 2021 [3].)
  • where the check-up can be done (e.g. in any Member State? Can non-Luxembourg-based staff use the Luxembourg Medical Service?)
  • which languages the forms are available in.

We will update this article with any answers we find. Please feel free to share your experiences of these new rules and procedures with us.

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[1] There are (paying) options available to cover the 15% which is not reimbursed in general by the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (JSIS): complimentary cover. To give an example of where this might be useful: elective (i.e. non-emergency) surgery, for example joint-replacement surgery, is reimbursed at 85% only, that 15% outstanding can be a considerable amount.

[2] ‘Only the annual medical visit as foreseen under the staff regulations and the preventive check-up by the PMO, assimilated to the annual medical visit, are considered as working time (record by choosing “work at the workplace” under PERIOD TYPE dropdown menu). (ATTENTION!! The other medical visits do not count as working time. Consequently, you should indicate the time you leave your workplace to attend such medical visits, and when you resume work, where necessary).’ Working time and time recording – Guidance for staff, 29 October 2019

[3] In 2021, 11.5% of Commission staff were based in Luxembourg (>3700) and 66.5% in Brussels (>21400) (2021 Key Figures). Luxembourg Medical Service appointments (+352) 4301 32588.

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