EU Council Passes Cross-Border Health Care Draft Policy

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The European Council passed on February 28 a draft directive that gives medical patients the mobility to seek cross-border health care from other EU states, while still receiving compensation through their own national health care system.

"Estonia has always supported the free movement of patients, as we are a small country and the occurrence of a number of diseases is relatively small," said Social Affairs Minister Hanno Pevkur, addressing the country's lack of tools and experience in some areas of treatment.

Yet in other areas, Pevkur believes Estonia could also be supplier of health care and not just a consumer. "Estonian doctors are very professional and highly valued. Patients from abroad can bring supplementary revenue to our health care system," Pevkur said.

Additionally, the new measure would strengthen international cooperation of health services through online platforms. One plan is to create a support network of specialized medical centers and an information database for rare diseases, according to a press release from the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The draft also establishes an obligation to recognize prescriptions issued in other EU nations. On the other hand, long-term care services provided in residential homes, and the access and allocation of organs for the purpose of transplantation fall outside the scope of the legislation.

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