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The role of the 2011 patients' rights in cross-border health care directive in shaping seven national health systems: Looking beyond patient mobility

Azzopardi-Muscat, Natasha, Rita Baeten, Timo Clemens, Triin Habicht, Ilmo Keskimäki, Kowalska-Bobko, Iwona, Anna Sagan and Ewout van Ginneken

Health Policy, 2018, vol. 122, issue 3, 279-283

Abstract: Reports on the implementation of the Directive on the application of Patients' Rights in Cross-border Healthcare indicate that it had little impact on the numbers of patients seeking care abroad. We set out to explore the effects of this directive on health systems in seven EU Member States. Key informants in Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Malta, Poland and The Netherlands filled out a structured questionnaire. Findings indicate that the impact of the directive varied between countries and was smaller in countries where a large degree of adaptation had already taken place in response to the European Court of Justice Rulings. The main reforms reported include a heightened emphasis on patient rights and the adoption of explicit benefits packages and tariffs. Countries may be facing increased pressure to treat patients within a medically justifiable time limit. The implementation of professional liability insurance, in countries where this did not previously exist, may also bring benefits for patients. Lowering of reimbursement tariffs to dissuade patients from seeking treatment abroad has been reported in Poland. The issue of discrimination against non-contracted domestic private providers in Estonia, Finland, Malta and The Netherlands remains largely unresolved. We conclude that evidence showing that patients using domestic health systems have actually benefitted from the directive remains scarce and further monitoring over a longer period of time is recommended.

Keywords: Cross-border health care; European union; Patients' rights; Health system; Health policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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