IVF, CT scans, radiosurgery and other free medical services in Moscow

IVF, CT scans, radiosurgery and other free medical services in Moscow
The list of free tests, surgery and healthcare services available in Moscow keeps growing. The holders of mandatory medical insurance can have free CT scans, tuberculosis tests, IVF and robotic or gamma knife surgery. How can you receive high-tech medical assistance in Moscow?

Moscow is one of the world’s capitals that boast the latest medical equipment. By 2016, 32 hospital complexes have been fully fitted out with high-tech medical equipment and technologies and have experienced specialists. This novel equipment allows doctors to complete comprehensive precision screening within a day.

Allocations for high-tech healthcare services have doubled from 2.5 billion roubles to 5 billion. Last year, comprehensive medical assistance was available in 20 specialties at 39 hospitals. Over a half of the 101,000 people who received it in 2015 were treated at municipal and not federal hospitals. Due to increased funding, over 100,000 people will receive high-tech medical assistance this year.

Moscow doctors can upgrade their skills at a new simulation centre that has opened at Botkin City Hospital. With a floor space of 2,000 square metres, the building has the latest simulators for training in 50 medical specialties, including virtual surgery rooms to train anaesthetists, obstetricians and surgeons.

CT scanners, robotic equipment and free IVF

Positron emission tomography (PET/CT) scans, which are available in Moscow free of charge starting this year, can detect pathological changes in organs and tissues in the early stages of a disease. Before that, this test cost between 50,000 and 70,000 roubles in Russia. In Europe, it costs over 1,000 euros. This year, it will be provided free of charge to 8,000 cancer patients in Moscow’s City Clinical Hospital No.57 and the City Cancer Hospital No.62.

Robotic surgery has become more accessible for Muscovites. The da Vinci surgical system is used for minimally invasive cardiology, urology and gynaecology and gastrointestinal robotic surgery. The da Vinci system has been installed at the Clinical Research Centre of Moscow, Botkin Hospital, City Hospital No. 31 and Spasokukotsky Hospital. Last year, doctors from Spasokukotsky Hospital and engineers from the Institute of Design Engineering Informatics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKTI RAS) created a prototype of a Russian robotic surgery system, which is undergoing clinical tests.

Doctors at the Radiosurgery Centre at Sklifosovsky Institute of Emergency Medicine use gamma knife surgery for the treatment of benign and malignant brain tumours and abnormal blood vessel formations (arteriovenous malformations) in the brain. The Gamma Knife is a machine that delivers a single, finely focused, high dose of radiation to its target, destroying the DNA of the tumour while causing little or no damage to surrounding tissue.

In 2013, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) was added to the list of free medical services for holders of mandatory medical insurance. Referrals are issued to married couples, those who live together in an open marriage and even single women. Applications can be denied if a woman does not have mandatory medical insurance, if there are no reasons for IVF or in case of contraindications to this procedure.

Other expensive procedures and surgeries that are available to Muscovites free of charge include CT and MRI with contrast agents (a contrast agent is a special substance that provides contrast enhancement in images after it enters the body), endovascular surgery for problems affecting the heart and blood vessels, prostate surgery, tuberculosis tests, tumour marker blood tests and video endoscopic nephrectomy.

High-tech medical specialties

High-tech medical assistance is available in a number of specialties, including abdominal surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, gastroenterology, haematology, dermato-venerology (skin and sexually transmitted diseases), combustiology (treatment of severe burns), neurosurgery, oncology, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat diseases), ophthalmology (eye diseases), paediatrics and rheumatology.

The list also includes cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and thoracic (chest) surgery, traumatology and orthopaedics, organ and tissue transplantation, urology, facial surgery, endocrinology, neonatology and neonatal surgery.

For the full list of high-tech medical services, go to pravo.gov.ru.

How to receive high-tech medical assistance

High-tech medical assistance is available to all Russian citizens upon a referral issued at a medical centre where the given patient underwent screening and received treatment. In addition to the referral to a hospital, the patient must provide conclusions from his or her medical case history signed by his/her doctor plus the chief physician/authorised representative of the given outpatient clinic/hospital; copies of his/her passport/other ID (birth certificate for children under 14 years), personal insurance policy number/SNILS (if any) and the mandatory medical insurance certificate. Underage children are accepted at hospitals for high-tech medical assistance based on a copy of the passport of his/her legal representative. And lastly, patients are required to sign a consent form on the processing of their personal data.

If the required type of medical assistance is covered by the mandatory medical insurance, the documents are forwarded to the hospital where the patient will receive medical assistance, after which the outpatient clinic/hospital issues a slip for the provision of high-tech medical assistance. A special commission has seven days to decide whether the patient should be sent to the hospital.

If high-tech medical assistance is not covered by the patient’s mandatory medical insurance, the documents are sent to the high-tech medical assistance sector of Moscow’s Healthcare Department at 4a 2nd Shchemilovsky Pereulok, Bldg. 4, which will issue the slip, while the aforementioned commission is to approve or reject the decision within 10 working days. The sequence of actions after that is the same as the high-tech medical assistance is covered by the mandatory medical insurance.

There are no queues at Moscow hospitals, and everyone who needs to have a surgery will receive this service within a year. For more information about high-tech medical assistance in Moscow, go to the City Councillor page on mos.ru.