Sickness certificates as a basis for decisions regarding entitlement to sickness insurance benefits
2005 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 33, no 4, 314-320 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The sickness certificate is a major instrument for establishing contact and conveying information between two authorities that have a substantial impact on the life situation and work situation of the patients, as well as on the economic costs of the society.
A study was undertaken to assess the quality of physicians' sickness certificates as a basis for social insurance officers' decisions regarding entitlement to sickness benefits.
Information on all 2,449 sickness certificates for sick-leave periods exceeding 28 days' sick leave period received at the social insurance offices in one Swedish county during one week in 2002 was coded and analysed.
Information provided in the certificates was often not sufficient to allow social insurance officers to determine eligibility for sickness benefits. Qualitative analyses of certificates from general practitioners (GPs) revealed that 21% contained ambiguous statements about the medical disorder, 30% were unclear regarding the assessment of functional capacity, and 22% required additional information on both those aspects. Sickness certificates issued by GPs and physicians under specialist training, as compared with other categories of physicians, more often provided essential data, for example concerning the patient's occupational tasks and type of employment.
Physicians often fail to contribute required information concerning functional capacity and other important aspects when issuing sickness certificates. This limits the use of these documents as a basis for decisions regarding sickness insurance benefits. The practical consequences of incomplete certificates might be delayed payment of benefits and delayed initiation of return to work measures.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 33, no 4, 314-320 p.
Sick leave, Sickness benefit, Sickness certificate, Sickness insurances
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-50273DOI: 10.1080/14034940510005798OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-50273DiVA: diva2:271169