Cross-Border Healthcare Simulation

On 31st May 2012, a workshop was organised by the European Social Observatory (Observatoire Social Européen – OSE) with an aim to present the outcomes of a simulation exercise undertaken in 2011. This exercise, in which the UEMS was involved, explored the potential impact of the Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border care.

Ms Rita Baeten (OSE) presented the key findings in this simulation which aimed to build a stronger understanding of the likely future impact of the Directive and to forecast potential issues as the Directive is put in practice. Ms Baeten demonstrated that this simulation showed that controversial issues debated during the drafting of this piece of legislation were likely to be overcome by pragmatic solutions.

Ms Jenni Brehmer (European Health Management Association – EHMA) acknowledged that this piece of legislation was only relevant for a little number of European citizens at present, mainly those living in border regions or with acute care and/or chronic conditions requesting specific treatments. According to the European Commission’s estimation, which still remains controversial, patients benefiting from care under that Directive is estimated to amount to 1% only. However, she recognised that this number could increase, even significantly, in the coming years. In this regard, she referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings and pointed to the fact that future cases arising from the introduction of this new Directive would surely be very interesting in reaching further progress in this area.