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Students in higher education to receive equal services starting from 1 Jan 2021

Media release 13 Feb 2020

FSHS service network approved by Kela

The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) as producer, and the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela) as organiser, have signed an agreement on the healthcare of students in higher education. Kela has also approved the FSHS’s proposal for the future service network.

Services produced by the FSHS will expand to cover all students in higher education starting from 1 January 2021. The agreement outlines the procedures and terms under which equal and high-quality healthcare will be provided for students at academic universities and universities of applied sciences. The FSHS will build the service network in accordance with the proposal approved by Kela.

“Equality has been our guiding light in building the service network. We want to ensure that our services are available and accessible for all our customers,” says Katariina Poskiparta, Managing Director of the FSHS.

Accessibility and sufficient customer base form requirements for the service network

Accessibility and a sufficiently large customer base are the criteria used in forming the FSHS service network. Accessibility means that one-way travel time must not be more than 45 minutes by public transport, transport frequency must be at least once per hour, and the price of a one-way trip should not be more than about 7 euros. The criteria in oral healthcare are less strict because the services are used less often.

When calculating what constitutes a sufficiently large customer base, all students entitled to FSHS services who can attend a service unit so that the accessibility criteria are met are considered. The customer base for a service unit run by the FSHS is 2,000 students. The FSHS produces oral healthcare services if the town or city has at least 4,000 students. If the number of students is lower than this, the services are produced together with FSHS partners.

“Irrespective of whether local consultation services are produced by the FSHS or in conjunction with our partners, all students are equally within the scope of our services,” stresses Tiina Andersén, FSHS expansion Project Manager.

95% of students within the scope of service units run by FSHS

From the beginning of 2021, local FSHS consultation services will be available in 52 towns and cities. Service units run by the FSHS will be located in 21 towns and cities and can be used by all students irrespective of place of study. The precise addresses of the service units will be confirmed during the spring.

“95% of students are within the scope of service units run by the FSHS and the rest will be local consultation services provided by partners. By working together with our partners we can ensure the same level of services for all students: for instance, we can offer longer opening hours than would be possible with part-time personnel. A small service unit is also vulnerable should there be any changes,” Tiina Andersén explains.

Same range of services for all students

All FSHS customers will have the same range of services irrespective of place of study, and the FSHS will assess the need for treatment of all students in a centralised manner.

FSHS Medical Director Päivi Metsäniemi describes the future service model: “We are building a service model based on two foundations: a team responsible for serving individuals and communities as a local service, and centralised services to ensure nationwide availability”.

In addition to the service network, the FSHS is to strengthen its digital service channels and centralised remote services.

“We have already introduced new procedures and service channels, which play a key role in the expansion, as part of our normal development work. These can be scaled up to serve the growing number of students from diverse backgrounds,” Metsäniemi says.

Seven facts about student healthcare services produced by the FSHS

On 1 March 2019, parliament approved the government’s proposal for an Act on healthcare for students in higher education. The Act will take effect on 1 January 2021. In addition to academic university students, students of universities of applied sciences will then be within the scope of FSHS services. This requires a wider service network, an increase in the number of employees and development of the service model.

At the moment   Starting from 1 Jan 2021
The FSHS produces healthcare services for academic university students. Municipalities are responsible for providing services for students of universities of applied sciences. Equal student healthcare services for all students in higher education. Contents of student healthcare will be based on the Health Care Act Section 17 (2).  
Approximately 125,000 academic university students are within the scope of FSHS student healthcare services. Students of universities of applied sciences will also be within the scope of FSHS student healthcare services, bringing the number of customers to around 270,000.
Local services in 18 towns and cities. The number of service units run by FSHS is 12. Local services in 52 towns and cities. Service units run by FSHS in 21 towns and cities.  
The FSHS has roughly 550 employees.   The estimated number of FSHS employees will be about 1,000.
The FSHS charges fees for uncancelled appointments and appointment fees for certain services.   The FSHS will charge fees for uncancelled appointments only.
The healthcare fee is obligatory; student unions collect the fee as part of the membership fee. The healthcare fee is obligatory and tax-like. Students will pay the fee to Kela. The fee is determined by a Government Decree.  
The FSHS is financed through healthcare fees paid by academic university students, reimbursements paid by Kela under the Health Insurance Act, and subsidies for university towns and cities.   The FSHS will be funded by healthcare fees paid by students in higher education (23%) and by the government (77%).  

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The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS)
Producer-organiser agreement, funding and finances / Managing Director Katariina Poskiparta, tel. 046 710 1101
Services and service model / Medical Director Päivi Metsäniemi, tel. 045 633 8858
Service network and premises / Project Manager Tiina Andersén, tel. 050 567 8897

Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela)
Head of the Centre of Expertise Reija Jääskeläinen, tel. 040 588 2356
Head of Benefits Kirsi Airinen, tel. 040 758 7528