Patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare are well protected, but challenges remain, says European Commission report

The Commission of the European Union has published a report on patients’ rights under the cross-border healthcare directive and an assessment of its impact ten years after its adoption.

The report confirmed that the directive has ensured equal treatment for all European patients when treated in another EU country. In addition, it confirmed that it provides for partial or full reimbursement of treatment costs at cross-border health facilities, reports

Commenting on the report’s findings, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the importance of EU cross-border solidarity in times of crisis.

She also said it was encouraging to see EU legislation fulfilling its objective of facilitating equal access and treatment as well as quality healthcare for patients across the EU.

“We will now take action to address the remaining challenges and ensure that all patients can fully exercise their rights to healthcare under EU law. Ensuring strong European cooperation in the field of cross-border healthcare is an important part of our action to build a strong European Health Union, serving all patients”, Kyriakides added.

The Commission notes that the recognition of prescriptions in the EU and the right of patients to information on cross-border healthcare are further proof of the value of the directive.

Thousands of patients with rare or complex diseases have been helped by the European Reference Networks. In addition, residents of border regions have also greatly benefited from structured regional cooperation between healthcare providers and administrations working together across borders to overcome differences in healthcare systems and meet the needs of patients.

Nevertheless, it was pointed out that patients continue to face difficulties when seeking treatment abroad.

The main difficulties facing patients in the EU are mainly due to uneven application of the directive and lengthy administrative procedures, among others.

“Patients continue to face difficulties when seeking treatment abroad, mainly due to the uneven application of the directive by EU countries, cumbersome administrative procedures and overly complex information on the best cross-border healthcare options available”, indicates the Commission.

The Commission’s website explains that all EU citizens who become unexpectedly ill while temporarily staying in another EU country are entitled to any medical treatment that cannot wait for the traveler to return. his home.

EU citizens are advised to always carry their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when traveling abroad. The card proves that the holder is insured in an EU country.

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