IF members: EU fails in full refund and info provision in cross-border health care

August 7, 2015   World

International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus | Source

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is currently reviewing the situation of persons with disabilities in the European Union. IF consulted its European members about access to the Right to Health in the EU with the aim of presenting a response to the UN Committee. The role of the EU Member States, according to the Cross-border healthcare directive, is to facilitate cross-border healthcare services and set up National Contact Points (NCP) as well as to support the development of European Reference Networks. IF members conclude that these three measures are not working well enough in the EU.

None of the European IF member organizations has been approached by a NCP for the purpose of providing persons with SBH with information about SBH care in other EU countries, and many of the members did not know about the existence of NCP. The reason for low awareness is the lack of centralized information about SBH treatments in the European countries. The European Union should develop an EU-wide guidance for National Contact Points on how to provide accessible and outstanding information to patients with various disabilities.

Many patients with SHB travel to another EU country for treatment that is not available in their home country.  A significant number of associations in IF’s membership confirmed that the reimbursement of treatment by their health insurance is rarely problematic, However, additional costs for persons with disabilities, such as accessible travel and accommodation expenses, which is not an obligation under the Directive, are only occasionally reimbursed.

The Directive also states that the EU shall support Members States in the development of European Reference Networks between healthcare providers and centers of expertise. There is a pressing need to improve the cross-border exchange of knowledge and to invest in training of medical and paramedical personnel within the EU.

To read the briefing in full Response to the list of issues on the European Union report to the UNCRPD, please click here