So, the physician employed under a labor agreement in a hospital of the public health system is assimilated to a civil servant who, permanently or temporarily, with or without remuneration, is performing a public dignity or has a public office of any kind, in the acceptance of the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

As a consequence, in case that physician requests or receives money from the patients they treat, can be prosecuted and sentenced for the offense of bribery, which, under the Criminal Code is: “the deed of the clerk that directly or indirectly, for himself or for another, claims or receives money or other benefits not due to him or accepts the promise of such benefits in connection with fulfillment, failure, delay or acceleration of an act concerning the duties of his office, or in connection to fulfill an act contrary to these duties. This is punished with imprisonment from 2 to 7 years and deprivation of the right to hold public office or to practice or work the activity in which execution has done the deed”.

The High Courts decision comes in contradiction with the Emergency Ordinance No. 2/2014 on amending and supplementing Law no. 95/2006 on healthcare reform, and amending and supplementing certain acts, which establishes that “the physician is not a civil servant and can not be assimilated to one”, given the nature of the medical profession and obligations of the physician to their patients.

The reason for this regulation was the nature of the medical profession, which the European Union is enacted as liberal. The physician is not a public servant and the comparison with one of them prevents an authentic relationship with the patient.

However, physicians, in terms of criminal offense are liable for bribery, the Decision of the High Court of Cassation and Justice being binding to all courts in Romania.