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National Contact Point for cross-border healthcare

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Legal sources

Here you will find an overview of the most important legal sources with regard to taking up cross-border healthcare services.

Entitlements arising from Patients' Rights Directive

Directive 2011/24/EU – also known as the Patients’ Rights Directive – largely implements the principles set out in many judgments of the European Court of Justice for cross-border healthcare within the European Union. Directive 2011/24/EU also contains provisions on the cross-border recognition of prescriptions issued in another Member State. These provisions are lent even greater detail by Implementing Directive 2012/52/EU.

Taken together, both the directive and the implementing directive only provide the framework within which the Member States must establish via national legal provisions how the entitlements and framework conditions are manifested in detail. Each State therefore had to transpose the rights stipulated in the Patients’ Rights Directive and in the implementing directive by means of national legal provisions. The transposition deadline expired on 25 October 2013.

Furthermore, each Member State had to establish a “national contact point” by this date. The contact point informs patients in a non-competitive fashion what rights and obligations they have within cross-border healthcare. National implementation regulations were also issued for this in each State.

We have arranged the essential regulations which were included in the German law to this or already consisted in the German law before coming into force of the guideline for you.

Transposition of the Patients' Rights Directive 2011/24/EU into national law

The case-law of the European Court of Justice on the cross-border receipt of medical benefits, which spans many years, was already transposed into national law in Germany, particularly in section 13 subsections (4)-(6) of Book V of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch V), as long ago as the calendar year 2004. The national contact point was established on 25 October 2013 on the basis of the coming into force of Directive 2011/24/EU. The legal basis in national law can be found in section 219d of Book V of the Social Code.

We have listed the respective national transposition provisions for you in the following sections, broken down by topical areas.

We will be happy to assist you should you have any questions regarding the individual legal provisions. You will find our contact information in the far right-hand column, amongst other places.

Entitlements arising from the European regulations on coordination

In addition to entitlements under the “Patients’ Rights Directive”, claims to have costs assumed in connection with cross-border healthcare may arise from European coordination law. The European coordination regulations – Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and its Implementing Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 – coordinate the various fields of social security with one another within Europe.

You can obtain information on the resultant entitlements within cross-border healthcare from the competent health insurance funds or from the German Liaison Agency Health Insurance – International.

You will find the provisions of the coordination regulations on cross-border healthcare which are relevant to you below. They are broken down by topical areas.

Provisions regarding regulations on quality and safety in the healthcare system

A patient’s safety in in-patient and out-patient care is given high priority in Germany.

In addition to numerous legal regulations, many practical measures have been taken in Germany in order to ensure patient safety in practice. Obligations for healthcare providers include taking part in inter-institutional quality assurance measures, providing benefits according to the respective state of scientific knowledge, setting up a system for patients’ complaints or introducing quality management at intra-institutional level. Healthcare providers may anonymously report weaknesses; patients may turn to advice centres free of charge, and hospitals draw up annual quality reports according to uniform standards. These and a large number of other measures aim at optimising processes in in-patient and out-patient care as well as at a critical consideration, assessment and constant improvement of quality of patient care. You will find a part of the most important German regulations on quality and safety below.

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Legal notice

Translations of legal sources are provided for information purposes only. Please note the heading ‘Laws and ordinances’ in the imprint.