Abu Dhabi: Starting next month, residents in the emirate of Abu Dhabi must obtain a doctor’s referral if they wish to see a doctor in the same speciality within 21 days of an outpatient visit.
Alternatively, they must contact a set of designated numbers to ensure that the second outpatient visit is covered by insurance providers, the emirate’s sector regulator, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad), announced in a statement issued on Sunday.
The system will be implemented from September 1 onwards for all Emirati and expatriate patients, except for those on the Daman Basic insurance policy.
Adeeb Al Zaabi, manager of corporate communication at the Haad, said the new system will boost the efficiency of the emirate’s health system, and optimise the quality of care.
The new outpatient visit mechanism does not, however, apply to follow-up appointments about a specific complaint with the same doctor. As before, these will remain free of charge, Haad representatives clarified to Gulf News.
In addition, such insurance pre-approval will not be required for second appointments, within 21 days, for children under the age of 18 years, residents aged 60 years or more, vaccination visits, emergency treatment and health screenings.
Representatives at the Haad also said that doctors and insurance providers have already been notified through circulars about the changes in the system.
In addition, doctors have also been urged to provide referral letters in order to ensure that patients’ insurance coverage is not affected. These letters should include the date, the patient’s full name, date of birth, Emirates ID number, speciality, chief complaint, and reason for referral along with the doctor’s stamp or signature.
Health care facilities must also maintain copies of all referral letters for audit purposes, the Haad said.