REVIEW – December 2012

What will the possibility to render health care services in the European Union without restrictions bring along?

Authors: Mari Amos

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The purpose of the present overview is to indicate main changes that will be brought about by implementation of the directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parl iament and of the Council on the application of patients’ rights in crossborder healthcare.

Implementation of the directive will necessitate changing of several legal acts in Estonia. It means that there will be certain new elements for the providers of health care services, the patients and the state. The main inf luence of the directive is the possibility to render and receive health care services on whole EU territory without the administrative formalities that are presently applicable. The patient will receive compensation for health care services at his or her country of residence exactly in the same manner as he or she would have received it if the services would have been rendered, or medicines or medical devices would have been bought domestically. Nevertheless, rendering and receiving cross-border health care services is subject to strict regulations. Starting from 25 October 2013 the service providers should be covered by compulsory liability insurance, to carry out more thorough consultations, to document the services rendered to foreigners and to make such documents available also across borders, etc. The patients should realise that in certain cases it is still possible to maintain restrictions for compensation either in the form of prior authorisation or in the central waiting schedule.

The directive creates good possibility for cooperation between states and institutions in several fields, like diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases, health technology assessment, elaboration of European reference networks and different all-European e-solutions.

EU states have an obligation to establish national contact points which will advise patients, service providers, health care workers, state agencies et al about all aspects of directive.