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IGEL, interpretation costs and medical malpractice

What do I need to bear in mind when treating people who have insurance in another EU country?

Can I offer individual healthcare services (“IGEL”) to such patients?

You can offer individual healthcare services to patients from other Member States. You should conclude an appropriate agreement in writing, wherever possible in the language of the patients’ country. This is your only way of proving that you have fully informed patients of the treatment and of the costs. Then you do not run a risk of having to refund the costs to the patients afterwards.


So that a patient who comes from another EU country can effectively consent to treatment, you need to inform him or her of all the essential circumstances like any other patient. If the patient cannot understand this information because of language barriers, they also cannot effectively consent to the treatment. It is therefore advisable to involve an interpreter in all postponable treatment so that you can prove that the patient was properly informed. The patient must pay the interpretation costs.

No special characteristics in the event of medical malpractice

If treatment has taken place in Germany, as a matter of principle the German legislation applies unless you have explicitly agreed otherwise with the patient. A treatment contract is therefore created between the patient and yourself, with the rights and obligations which this entails under German law. In case of suspicion of malpractice, the patient must initiate the procedures and legal channels provided for in Germany.

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