Beside the regulations concerning health in the Constitution, patient rights are protected in several acts endorsed in Bulgaria in the period 1995-2005 such as the Human Medicinal Drugs and Pharmacies Act (1995); the Health Insurance Act (1998); the Act for professional associations of physicians and dentists (1998); the Food Act (1999); the Health Act (2004), etc.
The most important acts concerning patient rights are the following.
The Health Insurance Act of 1998 stipulates in article 4 that “compulsory health insurance shall guarantee to the insured persons free access to medical care by means of a package of health-care activities of a specific type, scope and amount as well as a free choice of a provider of such care”.
The Act for professional associations of physicians and dentists settles the rights and obligations of medical specialists and the penalties in cases of violation of medical ethics, which is in direct connection with the patient rights.
The medical treatment facilities Act introduces an accreditation procedure in Chapter IX, which is directed towards patient rights to obtain qualitative medical care.
The Health Act of 2004 is “the Constitution of the health care” and is the first attempt to regulate the status, the rights and obligations of citizens in the field of health care. Article 2 states that “the protection of the citizens’ health as a condition of full physical, mental and social wellbeing is a national priority and it shall be guaranteed by the government through the application of several principles such as the equality in the use of health services and the ensuring of accessible and high-quality healthcare”.
Section II of the Health Act is named “Patient's Rights and Obligations”.
Beside these legislative acts, patient rights are referred in a number of regulations and decrees, adopted by the government.
Also ethical codes elaborated by the Bulgarian medical and dental associations directly or indirectly cover patient rights.
At this moment there are two different bills for patient rights and obligations, introduced in the Bulgarian Parliament (Draft law N° 554-01-19 submitted by Mr. R. Gaidarski and Draft law N° 554-01-37 submitted by Mr. A. Shterev). These two bills discuss in detail the rights and obligations of citizens with respect to health care. The adoption of a law on patient rights will make it easier for citizens to acknowledge, realize and have protected their rights as patients.