Cross border medical care beginning to thrive in border regions
People living in the Czech border regions have gradually got used to the concept of cross-border medical care within the EU. For many locals, clinics in neighbouring Germany are closer and more expedient than the nearest medical facility in the Czech Republic, while many Germans and Austrians seek out dental care at Czech clinics which are significantly cheaper.
Since April of last year a new EU regulation also enables them to seek out medical attention in an EU state without giving their insurance company advance notice. And clinics in the border regions are advertising their services. For instance the clinic in Weiden, Germany, has currently put up billboards in the west Bohemian town of Pilsen, letting Czechs know that the facility offers top-quality medical care, minimal waiting periods and has Czech-speaking doctors and nurses on its staff.
On the other hand Czech dental clinics along the country’s southern border are doing good business and advertising their services in neighbouring Austria. Vaclav Bruna opened a private dental clinic in the border town of Dolní Dvořiště twenty years ago. Over that time the clinic has treated twenty thousand patients from neighbouring Austria and Germany – and now employs four dentists full time. Dr. Bruna explains what attracts clients.
At present the country’s largest health insurer VZP has over 700 requests for refunds of medical treatment abroad – of that over 17 percent are for treatment in Germany, 13 percent in Austria and 30 percent in Slovakia where the cost of treatment is usually covered fully.