The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit of cross-border healthcare arrangements in the EU. The auditors will examine the European Commission’s monitoring and support for putting the EU legislation on cross-border healthcare access into effect, the results achieved to date for patients, and the effectiveness of the EU funding framework and of the actions funded. The audit will also cover the eHealth sector, where information technology is used to improve healthcare delivery and the health of citizens. The auditors have today published a Background Paper on the EU cross-border healthcare system as a source of information for those interested in the subject.
An important goal of EU health policy is to ensure patients’ rights to access safe and high-quality healthcare - including across national borders within the EU - and their right to be reimbursed for such healthcare. It is also one of the principles of the internal market.
“Although most patients in the EU obtain their healthcare in their own country, in some situations the most accessible or appropriate care may be available in another Member State,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit. “This raises complex questions for patients, health systems and health professionals.”
Healthcare systems in Europe are under pressure because of an ageing population and growing budgetary constraints in the past decade. In 2016, persons aged 65 or over accounted for 19.2 % of the EU population, an increase of 2.4 % compared with 10 years earlier. In view of these demographic changes, this share is projected to further increase in the years to come, possibly exacerbating health inequalities across the EU.
The audit will include visits to Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Lithuania. The report is expected to be published in the first half of 2019.