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Patient tourism getting out of control?

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

There are concerns that "patient tourism" is becoming unmanageable in Europe. There has been a marked increase in the trend of patients travelling within the EU to another country for medical care. This has happened since the European Court of Justice ruled that European statutory health insurance funds are obliged to fund treatments abroad, if they are not able to offer a timely and qualitatively similar treatment in the patient's home country (see Clinica No 967, p 6). The necessary administrative procedures for managing patient costs across borders are not sufficiently well developed to cope, however. This practice risks destabilising many countries' efforts to control healthcare expenses, a meeting of representatives from 44 member state social affairs ministries concluded.

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