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The Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011
on the application of Patients’ Rights in Cross-border Healthcare» and the respective national legislation «Law for the Application of Patients’ Rights in Cross Border Healthcare» provide the patients with more cross – border rights and choices, in line with the objectives for a Single Market. They clearly declare the right of the patients to seek treatment abroad and their privilege to decide whether to consult a healthcare provider from the public or private sector in the Member State of treatment and be reimbursed for the amount that they would have been reimbursed if they have been receiving the same treatment in their own country. In addition, for non – hospital treatment, patients will be able to seek healthcare abroad without prior authorization or other formalities, and claim reimbursement upon their return back home.
This newly introduced legal framework foresees the establishment of a National Contact Point (NCP) in each member state with its main task being the provision of information on patients’ rights on cross-border healthcare. Specifically, the NCP provides practical information to patients on conditions and levels of reimbursement, possible treatments, healthcare providers, procedures for redress etc. By receiving this information, patients will get a clear idea on the quality and safety of healthcare services provided abroad and, thus, will be lead to more informed decisions on cross – border healthcare.
It is important to note that the decision on which healthcare services can be reimbursed, and at which cost level, is entirely at the competence of each Member State. However, Member States are required to provide clear information to patients on the types of healthcare services that are been reimbursed, and at which cost level.
Healthcare providers should provide all necessary information to patients for enabling them to make an informed choice. This includes information on the treatment options and their availability, the quality and safety of healthcare, invoicing and prices. Healthcare providers should apply the same scale of fees for both domestic patients and patients from other EU Member States, in a comparable medical situation. They should also provide information on their professional license, their insurance coverage or other means of protection concerning their professional liability.
Patients who access planned cross-border healthcare in the framework of the Directive have to pay the provider on an advanced base, and will be reimbursed afterwards by their home Member State. In principle, patients are entitled to get reimbursed for receiving the same or similar healthcare treatment that might have received in their own country, up to the level of cost that might have been charged in their home country. However, Member States have the ability to decide on other related services to be reimbursed, such as accommodation and travel cost, or certain extra costs, e.g. the cost resulting from disability.
In case that the patients have received cross-border healthcare and something went wrong, transparent complaints procedures and mechanisms exist, which enable them to seek remedies in accordance to the legislation of the Member State of treatment. The NCP of the member state of treatment shall give information on the regime applicable in the country of treatment.
Patients who have received treatment in another EU Member State have the right for distant access to their medical records or of at least a copy of them. If medical follow-up proves to be necessary, the same medical follow-up is available as would have been if that treatment had been provided on their territory.
A medical prescription issued in another EU Member State should be recognized in a patient’s home country and vice versa. The patients are entitled to obtain the prescribed medicine from any EU member State, given that the exact medicine is been authorized for sale and available in the market, even if this is not the case in their home country.
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Last Modified at: 21/11/2014 09:26:23 AM
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N.C.P. on the application of Patients' Rights on Cross Border Healthcare
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