30th March 2021  
EU FOR HEALTH: Work in progress
While the COVID-19 crisis is an extremely difficult time for all of us, it is also a starter for progress, giving us the opportunity to include positive experiences.
What did we learn? That solidarity matters, we know that European collaboration is key to achieve common goals. In line with the Health Commissioner´s concerns, Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market recently declared that all forces are engaged to provide the best chances for European citizens.
The next step will undoubtedly be moving towards a real European dimension of Health regulation. Barriers according to the Lisbon Treaty must be broken to achieve this goal of coordination.
As caregivers, we remain engaged in the everyday fight against the disease, but we are also looking forward to new perspectives, shaping the next future of Europe, achieving the European Green Deal goals but also Sustainability, Solidarity and Efficient EU solutions in Health programs.
Dr Paul Garassus
President of UEHP
UEHP for gender equality
International Women’s Day 2021
At the European Union of Private Hospitals we are fully engaged and committed to the cause of gender equality with a number of initiatives dedicated to women empowerment in our societies and in particular in the medical profession.
Every year we launch a photo campaign to stress the importance of women in workplaces and to promote the removal of gender barriers.
This year campaign shows three women leaders, at the top management of three main private hospitals groups in France, Portugal and Poland:
  • Mrs Sophie Boissard – CEO – Korian (FR)
  • Mrs Isabel Vaz – CEO – Luz Saúde (PT)
  • Mrs Anna Farmas – CEO – Medinet (PL)
Join the campaign #uehp4genderEquality and help us spread the message!
Happy International Women’s Day 2021! #IWD2021
Agreement on the new EU4Health Programme
On 9 March the European parliament voted the provisional agreement reached with the Council on the new EU4Health Programme.
MEPs adopted the EU4Health programme for 2021-2027, which aims to prepare EU health systems more rigorously for future health threats and pandemics.
The new EU4Health programme will contribute in areas where the EU can clearly add value, thus complementing member states’ policies. Its main objectives include strengthening health systems by supporting countries to coordinate with each other and share data, as well as making medicines and medical devices more available, accessible and affordable.
The European Parliament endorsed it with 631 votes in favour, 32 against and 34 abstentions.
Key points of the new EU4Health programme:
  • The Programme’s budget is 5.1 billion EUR, with at least 20% dedicated to disease prevention and health promotion
  • EU will be better prepared to address major cross-border health threats
  • Affordable medicines and medical devices will be more available
Tackle cross-border health threats more efficiently
As the goal is to make health systems more resilient, EU4Health will prepare them more thoroughly for major cross-border health threats. This should enable the EU to face not only future epidemics, but also long-term challenges such as an ageing population and health inequalities.
The programme will also support actions linked to e-health and the creation of the European “health data space”. Promoting access to quality healthcare, including access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, improving mental health and accelerating the fight against cancer will also be supported.
During the plenary debate on Tuesday, MEPs highlighted the key role that the new programme will play in fighting health inequalities, both between member states and between different social groups. They also welcomed the establishment at EU level of a stockpile of essential medical supplies and equipment, which complements the work being done under rescEU, and a reserve of medical and support staff to be mobilised in the event a health crisis. Watch a recording of the debate here.
Next steps
Once Council has also formally approved the regulation, it will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021.
In May 2020, the Commission put forward a new stand-alone EU4Health Programme for 2021-2027, as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. EU4Health aims to help the EU to be better prepared for major cross-border health threats and to make national health systems more resilient. Parliament and Council reached a compromise agreement on 14 December 2020.
EU Health Coalition - Forum for Better Access to Health Innovation
The EU Health Coalition (UEHP is an active member of the coalition) has published a joint statement  link on the establishment of a Forum for Better Access to Health Innovation (click here). 
As you might be aware, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union is organising a High Level Conference on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices on the 27th and 28th of April 2021 (see here for more information on this and other events, as well as their health priorities).
Considering this and the fact that the President of Infarmed, the Portuguese Authority of Medicines and Healthcare Products, participated in the EU Health Summit organised by the Coalition last October, we thought that the occasion might offer a great opportunity to raise awareness on, and advocate for, our Coalition's recommendation to establish a Forum for Better Access to Health Innovation (available here).
For this reason, the Coalition prepared the statement and sent it to the Portuguese Presidency ahead of their conference. 
EAVH - first digital Network event
Last 9th March the European Alliance for Value in Health held its first digital Network event for its partners and their members. 
The event was an opportunity for partners and members to learn more about the mission, vision, as well as partners of the EAVH, and how to best leverage this platform in day-to-day work; join the discussion on how to build value-based, sustainable and people centred health systems in Europe; get inspired by and network with the EAVH partners and their members. 
After a presentation of the Alliance from the chair and the partners pitches on what each of them is doing on VBC and why did they decide to join the Alliance, the participants were asked to vote on the principle which matters the most to them when discussing how to foster value based care in Europe, out of a list identified by the Alliance. 
After that, the participants had the opportunity to discuss in break out sessions about the two most voted principles:
Outcomes that matter to people and patients, as well as benefits valued by health systems and societies, are at the center of decision-making;
Financing models and payments reward value and outcomes.
For each of the two principles participants were able to discuss the key challenges to achieving this principle and what is required to adress them, as well as how can the Alliance help to achieve the principle. 
Participants saw a need for EAVH to convince policy makers, to share examples and best-practices. The main takeaway was for the EAVH to continue in this direction, and continue to share knowledge and collaborate across stakeholders.
Our Secretary General, Ms Giannico, presented the latest initiatives of European private hospitals on VBC and why it is so important for UEHP to be part of this multi-stakeholder pan European Alliance. She was also moderator of one of the break out sessions.
The full report of the event will be available in the coming weeks.
More on the European Alliance for Value in Health: Home - European Alliance for Value in Health
EU Health Coalition outreach to EU policymakers
In March the EU Health Coalition has hosted two institutional meetings, one with Mr Delsaux, Deputy Director General of the European Commission's DG SANTE and the other with Mrs Painter from European Commission's DG REFORM, Unit B4 Labour market, Education, Health and Social services.
Both meetings were extremely constructive, as the partners of the Coalition had the chance to present to the European Commission their recommendations on the future of health, with a focus on the following ones: 
  • Support the measurement and collection of standardised health data, including outcomes relevant for people and patients, throughout health systems;
  • Establish a Forum for Better Access to Health Innovation;
  • Facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships with regions and cities;
  • Invest in Europe as a true research and innovation hub;
  • Coordinate research efforts across Europe to be able to jointly tackle emerging complex health challenges;
  • Accelerate the creation of a European Health Data Space Health data and digital health.
Our Secretary General, Ms Giannico, presented the recommendation on Supporting the measurement and collection of standardised health data, including outcomes relevant for people and patients, throughout health systems and how this would strengthen European health systems by allowing for: transparent comparisons and benchmarking across the EU; real-time disease monitoring and risk assessments, including for serious cross-border health threats such as COVID-19; identification and spread of best practices in health and social care; and strengthening the assessment of health and social care systems performance. It would also contribute to the successful implementation of the recently proposed Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
The EU Coalition looks forward to fostering a dialogue with the European Commission and between all actors, including regional and local health authorities, while avoiding duplication of efforts. It is crucial that all partners of the Coalition advocate at national level for funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility to be used on the three identified priorities (health, green economy and digital transition). 
More on the EU Health Coalition: Home - EU Health Coalition
Submit your abstract for EHMA 2021
The European Health Management Association (EHMA) is pleased to launch the EHMA 2021 Call for Abstracts and invites all interested stakeholders to submit their cutting-edge research on health management.
We welcome abstracts addressing the conference theme ‘Health Management: managing the present and shaping the future’ and one or more of the following sub-themes:
  • Governance and leadership
  • Person-centeredness and care integration
  • Managing the digital transformation
  • Improving healthcare access and outcomes
  • Environmental sustainability of health services
  • Health workforce
Participate in the EHMA 2021 Annual Conference by sharing your research with the full health management ecosystem. Highlight best practices and share innovative ideas and knowledge on health management with leading experts in the field. Your research will be fundamental to identify, discuss and address current and future needs of health management in Europe and worldwide.
Abstracts may be submitted for either:
  • Oral presentation
  • Poster
  • Karolinska MMC/EHMA Research Award (PhD Award)
All abstracts must be submitted by Monday, 3 May 2021 at 9 AM CEST.
Please read carefully the submission guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact chiara.gonzi@ehma.org
Do not miss the opportunity to take part in the preeminent European conference on health management and share this exciting news with your colleagues and network!
We look forward to seeing you at EHMA 2021!
A cardiac surgery center turns into a Covid unity
Could you summarize the actions taken by Medinet to welcome Covid patients in the past 12 months? (already many pieces of information are given in the video)
The last few months have been like a roller coaster ride for us, a very difficult time for our establishment specialized in cardiac surgery. Each wave of the pandemic, and the third one we are going through right now, have turned upside down our care schedules and the way our hospital operates. We have tried to get our adult and pediatric cardiac surgery activity back to normal, but we have experienced a constant stop and go.
Anna Farmas, CEO of Medinet
During the past year, many operations had to be cancelled or postponed and we had to rescale our cardiac surgery planning while creating a dedicated Covid ward in one part of our hospital.
We had to modify our infrastructure with additional installations we did not have, make building changes, purchase, and replace medical equipment due to the different profile of Covid patients. Some equipment for instance is not suitable for a rapid diagnosis of this disease, others do not support continuous disinfection and misting, which makes the work very difficult for the managers, who have to define priorities at all times.
At the same time, I am aware that young and adult patients with heart diseases are waiting for heart surgery and any delay might be a loss of chance for them and may even lead to their death, sometimes at home.
As a CEO of Medinet, how would you rate the assistance you have received from your government in dealing with the pandemic?
The Prof. Zbigniew Religa Lower Silesian Center for Heart Diseases - Medinet Ltd has a contract with the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ.), so that we are integrated into the health system and are fulfilling tasks related to the pandemic. After the first wave, we received personal protective equipment and additional funding for the staff working with infected patients. However, special equipment to monitor, diagnose and treat patients are necessary and are very expensive and in this matter, we can only rely on ourselves. Through the Association for the Development of Paediatric and Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, we collect money for a digital X-ray machine, cardiac monitors, infusion pumps and we are looking for sponsors, funders, counting on the generosity and the understanding of the donors.
How do you evaluate the engagement of the private sector in Poland to face the pandemic?
Private hospitals in Poland declared their commitment to the fight against the pandemic right from the beginning, but it is only after the first wave that the Polish Government has been treating them as partners in this fight. 1.400 hospital beds have been made available, vaccination centers have been established in private entities and it should be remembered that patients are treated and diagnosed in these hospitals also because public hospitals operate to a limited extent.
It has just been announced that the Government is taking over private hospitals to treat Covid patients. The situation in this matter is very dynamic.
UEHP supports gender equality in the private healthcare sector. You are a woman but above all a CEO, how do you perceive the place of women in leading positions in Poland in 2021?
I am pleased to observe an increasing number of women sitting on the boards of private and public hospitals, although it is still a man´s domain. I must say that all my colleagues who manage medical institutions are excellent leaders and managers in their organizations. I think women have certain skills that are very helpful such as multitasking and empathy, much needed in these positions. Unfortunately, there is still much to be done in this regard, because women still have to prove that they are the right person in the right place. I particularly welcome the efforts made by the UHEP to support gender equality in the healthcare sector.
More to discover:

Health in Europe for a healthy Europe
When asked to specify the most important issue for the future of Europe, Europeans chose Health care.
Last week's Eurobarometer published a special edition about social issues and the results are unequivocal:
By Oscar Gaspar, president of the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals (APHP)
Health is by far the most important issue, chosen by more than a third of respondents. What is also clear in this study is that, significantly ahead of any other area, Health is designated as being the issue that deserves higher priority from the government of each Member State but also from the European Union as a whole, which must take measures to prepare the future of Europe.
The Eurobarometer results may not be surprising given the current COVID-19 context and the widespread concern about the pandemic, but Europeans no longer identify health needs as conjunctural issues or personal or circumstantial concerns. Europeans identify Europe's future with health and vice versa. The European social model, one of the great objectives of European construction, means that Europeans demand that health be a political priority.
It is known that Health is one of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights which recognizes that everyone has the right to timely access to affordable, preventive, and curative health care of good quality. We must now create the conditions to make this goal a reality and so that Europeans can identify themselves with resilient and sustainable health systems that ensure universal coverage and access.
Furthermore, the health sector is a leader in terms of research and development, innovation, digital transition, knowledge, and intelligence for decision support, as well as in constantly adapting to people's health needs.
The various health players (research and development, pharmaceutical industry, pharmacies, medical device industry, outpatient providers, hospitals, insurers, providers in areas such as information technologies and equipment) form a cluster (a diamond, as Michael Porter would say) that is at the service of citizens' health and the sustainability of health systems, contributing also to the qualified employment, investment and competitiveness of the European economy.
In January Portugal took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months and it is therefore up to us to take the relevant steps to uphold the choice that Europeans have made: health systems that guarantee care if, when and where necessary, efficiently but, above all, with humanity while Europe should ensure strategic sovereignty in the economic chain linked to life sciences. Moreover, it is the first European Presidency after the State of the Union (click here) in which the European Commission and the European Parliament have joined voices in their commitment to move towards a European Health Union.
This is Health time. In good time Portugal embraced the European Health Union process in this semester´s program. One of the highlights of the Portuguese Presidency will certainly be the Social Summit which will be held on May 6 and 7 in Porto, and in order to respond to the needs of citizens, we believe that this is also the time to highlight Health as a (very relevant) part of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
UEHP presents its Board Members
Interview with Mag. Stefan Günther
What is the place of the private healthcare sector in your country?
The private hospital sector in Austria has a longstanding presence besides a strong public sector, with highly spezialised and outstanding acute care institutions (154 public/43 private/UEHP Factbook), but also with 37 private rehabilitation clinics. In the rehabilitation sector, health costs are covered by the public social health insurance, whereas acute care clinics depend to a large extend on self-payers or privately insured patients, which has been a hindrance to the development of the sector.
Stefan Günther
© Akos Burg
Like in many other countries in Europe, the Covid pandemic has unfortunately reopened the debate on the place and purpose of the private healthcare sector in Austria. Why private clinics when the public sector can do everything and much better? We would like to do much more as private health care operators if we were allowed to. A patient affiliated with the public health insurance in Austria and who does not have a complementary insurance, can only go to a private rehabilitation clinic, which unlike acure care private clinics are under contract with the public insurance. I think this is a great pity.
Why did you apply to become a UEHP Board member? What would you like to achieve?
I have been representing Austria at UEHP for 7 years and I am now a sitting on the Board since 2021. It is important for me to be a UEHP Board member because many decisions and regulations are made at the European level. As most private hospitals in Europe face similar problems, so that acting together give us a chance to weight in on those decisions. I am firmly convinced that this must be done at the European level, as it is often already too late to influence decisions once they are about to be implemented at national level. At the European level, I would like to see more unity, but also I wish that the private health care sector would be taken more seriously, acknowledged and supported.
I also find exchanges with other UEHP members very enriching. They are good opportunities to broaden one’s horizon.
How can UEHP best help you to defend the private healthcare sector in your country?
The question is rather to define what we can do to help UEHP to have a stronger voice as a private health operator at the European level. What can I do to serve the interests of UEHP and what opportunities do I have to better be heard in return? The different European UEHP member countries are definitely stronger with UEHP than without UEHP.
Stefan Günther Studied business administration in Graz. He is the Managing Director of Hospitals Projektentwicklungsges.m.b.H. specialized in Finance, human resources, organisational and project development. He is the Secretary General of the Association of Austrian Private Hospitals and sits on the Board of UEHP since 2015.
UEHP presents its Board Members
Interview with Cristian Hotoboc
What is the place of the private healthcare sector in your country?
In Romania the private health care sector occupies a large place with primary care and specialized institutions, laboratories and radiology centers. The private hospital sector is growing very fast but the majority of beds are still in public hands (20 % private). Most private hospitals (56%) are under contract with the National Health Insurance Fund and welcome all patients but a part of the care provided in private hospitals still has to be paid out-of-pocket.
Cristian Hotoboc
As the amount received by the National Health Insurance Fund does mostly not cover the costs of care we provide, we try very hard right now to have the copayments by patients to private medical services provided approved by the Ministry of Health. Private hositals, unlike public ones, do not receive extra public money to cover salaries, investments and operations costs.
Why did you apply to become a UEHP Board member? What would you like to achieve?
I would like to be close to the EU commission. I think that it might be helpful for our lobbying work to be closer to the policies at the EU level. UEHP offers a perfect platform to meet other hospital managers from the private hospital sector and to receive the latest information. I noticed that we have more or less the same problem in all countries and that we will achieve more if we are united. In the end we all only want to contribute to the good health of our populations.
How can UEHP best help you to defend the private healthcare sector in your country?
I come with my experience to UEHP, also with my experience at the EU level. On the other hand it is a great help for me to know that I have 11 other countries on my side when it comes to negociating with my governement.
Cristian Hotoboc graduated from the Academy of Economic Studies, Faculty of International Economic Relations, in 2000. Since 2007, he is President of the Association of Private Medical Service Providers (PALMED). PALMED supports Romanian private health providers, as well as the right of patients to access quality medical services at an affordable price. Since 2010, he is also President of the Alliance for Health in Romania.
4 June 2021
UEHP Virtual Council meeting