A Community framework on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare

Fecha Publicación: 
2 Julio 2008

A Community framework on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. Communication from the Commission. Commission of the European Communities. Brussels, 2-7-2008 COM(2008) 415 final — {SEC(2008) 2183}


1. Introduction

2. Proposed framework

2.1. A specific legal framework regarding reimbursement of cross-border healthcare

2.2. Guaranteeing quality and safety for cross-border healthcare

2.3. Future practical European cooperation on healthcare

2.3.1. European reference networks

2.3.2. Health Technology Assessment

2.3.3. E-health

3. The impact of the framework

3.1. How large is cross-border healthcare?

3.2. What will the impact of this proposal be for citizens?

3.3. What will the impact of this proposal be for health professionals?

3.4. What will the impact of this proposal be on the Member States and public budgets?

3.5. What will be the impact on the overall organisation of health systems?

4. Conclusion

The shared objectives of health systems throughout the European Union reflect some of the most fundamental values of European citizens. The underlying principles of universality, equity, good quality and solidarity must be respected. The organisation and delivery of health services and medical care is and will remain under the competences of the Member States, competences which must be exercised in the respect of the Treaty. In addition, the European Union can bring significant addedvalue through enhanced cooperation to the benefit both of those patients who move and those who do not. By doing so, the EU will be also helping to meet some of the most central priorities of its citizens, and will be providing a tangible example of the benefits of European   integration into their daily lives. It has to be remembered that all the case-law of the Court of Justice in this matter are based on referrals initiated by single citizens trying to exercise individual rights stemming from the EC Treaty itself.

The main objective of the proposed legal framework is thus to clarify the Court of Justice principles stating that the patients have the right to be   reimbursed for healthcare received in another Member State up to the level that they would have been for healthcare received in their own Member State. This right is the direct application of the EC Treaty and the legal framework proposed by the Commission aims at facilitating its practical application.

Much of this Community support is therefore about cooperation and mutual learning. Nevertheless, the key first step is to establish a clear legal framework within which such European cooperation can take place. That is the aim of this initiative. 

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