Health systems and cross-border cooperation

January 2014

Health systems and cross-border cooperation

The French-Belgian health monitoring unit (EEIG OFBS) and the Wallonia-Lorraine-Luxembourg cross-border health monitoring unit (EEIG LUXLORSAN) organised a conference on health systems and cross-border cooperation, which took place on 18 December 2013 at the Committee of the Regions offices.

The morning was devoted to the impact of the crisis on health systems and on cross-border cooperation in this area. After an overall analysis of the situation in the European Union (Willy Palm, WHO – European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies), the examples of Belgium (Jo De Cock, INAMI), France (Dominique Polton, CNAMTS), Luxembourg (Claude Schummer, AMMD) and Germany (Marc Schreiner, German hospitals association) were presented in detail. The responses to the crisis have differed between the countries, with different levels of reduction of the budgets allocated to health. Some countries have made minor changes, while others have introduced structural reforms according to a real strategic vision.

Koen Lenaerts, vice-president of the Court of Justice of the European Union, explained the areas of application of the two fundamental European texts governing cross-border healthcare: Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Directive 2011/24/EU of 9 March 2011 on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, which had to be transposed by the Member States before 25 October 2013. These texts guarantee the mobility of European patients and define the rules for healthcare reimbursement. In practical terms, a patient can receive healthcare in another Member State and is treated under the same conditions as the patients of that State.

The French Ambassador to Belgium, Bernard Valero, introduced the second part of the conference.
The afternoon communications focused on the assessment of cross-border cooperation on health. Grégoire Lefebvre (Mouscron hospital) discussed inter-hospital cooperation in the north-east of the Lille conurbation and the ZOAST (organised cross-border care access area) MRTW-URSA. Robert de Fays (VIVALIA) described medical cooperation between Arlon and Mont Saint Martin and the ZOAST ARLWY. Manon Marell (Cerdagne hospital EGTC) presented the establishment of the first European cross-border hospital on the French-Catalan border. Philip Cordery (French MP) discussed socio-medical cooperation through the French-Walloon cross-border outline agreement on the management of handicapped persons.
Other contributors included Nathalie Chaze (DG SANCO), Phillipe Lorenzo (ORS Picardie), Claude d’Harcourt (ARS Lorraine), Christophe Lafond (MGEN) and Agnès Monfret (DG REGIO). The proceedings were concluded by Frederic Flamand (Walloon regional health minister).

More info on the conference

Cross-border health topical data sheet

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