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FAQs – General information on the Patient Mobility Directive

What does the term “patient mobility” mean?

If a person receives or would like to receive a healthcare service in a state other than his or her homeland, in which he or she is also insured, this is known as patient mobility or cross-border healthcare.

What is the Patient Mobility Directive about?

Patient Mobility Directive 2011/24/EU establishes framework conditions for all EU Member States and the EEA States Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway so that patients can exercise their rights regarding access to cross-border healthcare and reimbursement of the expenses for these services. The Directive is implemented in Austria by the EU Patient Mobility Act (OJ 32/2014). The national regulations and the provisions of Regulation (EC) 833/2004 still apply (Legal Framework off cross-border healthcare in Austria). A national contact point in each country is supposed to provide answers to questions on cross-border healthcare as well as more information and clarification.

To whom does the Patient Mobility Directive apply?

The Directive applies to all persons, regardless of their nationality, who have health insurance in a EU Member State or in one of the EEA States Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway, in other words also to so-called third country residents.

To which treatments does the Patient Mobility Directive not apply?

The Directive does not apply to long-term healthcare services, the allocation of organs and access to organs (organ donation), nor to public vaccination programs to control infectious diseases.

What is a Member State of affiliation?

For a patient who wishes to receive a treatment in a foreign country or who has already done so, the country in which he or she is insured is generally referred to as the Member State of affiliation. Thus Austria is the Member State of affiliation for persons insured in Austria who get treatment in another country. You can find more detailed information on this here: Member State of affiliation

What is a Member State of treatment?

Austria would be designated as the Member State of treatment for persons insured in another EU Member State or in one of the EEA States Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway who avail themselves of healthcare services in Austria. You can find more on this here: Member State of treatment

What is the national contact point for cross-border healthcare?

The national contact point in Austria serves as an information center, especially with regard to rights arising from the Directive if a cross-border treatment is planned or if such a treatment has already been received. The website has information on this. The national contact point can also be contacted via e-mail (patientenmobilitaet [at] goeg [dot] at). Each Member State has a duty to set up such a contact point. You can find information on the national contact points in other countries here.

Can insured persons be sent against their will to other countries for treatment?

No, as a rule each country is responsible for providing care to its own insured and no one may be compelled to seek treatment in another country.

What quality and safety standards apply to a treatment?

The quality and safety standards of the country in which the treatment is carried out are applied. In Austria, ensuring a high level of quality in health services is an important concern. For this reason, the responsible Ministry of Health publishes quality standards which describe the organizational framework conditions in the care of patients across all sectors and offer solutions for problems at the interfaces (further information can be found here): Qualitätsstandarts

For specific enquiries about quality and safety standards, please contact the following health service providers:

In the hospital sector: Hospital owner or hospital

In the field of rehab/cure: the respective rehabilitation institution

In the private practice sector: In the case of physicians, the respective state medical chamber

There are also other health service providers

For further information and assistance, please contact the National Contact Point.

Where can one turn to in the event of malpractice?

The law of the state in which the treatment was carried out shall apply. For further information, please contact the responsible National Contact Point in the country where the treatment was administered. Further information on Austria can be found under the following links:


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