European Cross-Border Health Care Organization launches


The European Cross-Border Health Care Organization (ECHO) is a new forum for the European cross-border healthcare sector, which aims to embrace members from all parts of the healthcare system, including:
•    Regulatory and supervisory bodies at all levels within the European Union, including national and regional participants.
•    State run and private health insurance companies as well as the national social security organizations.
•    Healthcare service providers including; hospitals and clinics; spas, rehabilitation and wellness; medical travel agents; and healthcare quality and accreditation bodies.

The organization will be registered in Brussels as a non-profit organization (ASBL). The aim is to provide an open and neutral platform for stakeholders, providers and customers involved in cross-border healthcare.

ECHO will offer its members:
•    A forum for debate and discussion on the route to the integration of cross-border healthcare.
•    An opportunity to influence and provide insight into the developments in cross-border healthcare.
•    Guidance in accreditation and certification.
•    Opportunities for networking within the industry.
•    Access to EU and other relevant documentation.
•    A newsletter on developments in cross-border healthcare.
•    Collaboration with events to help the development of cross border health care in the EU.
•    Access to institutions relevant to cross-border health care.
•    Information for patients about rights under the EU Directive.
•    Guidance to patients on questions of treatment in cooperation with national and international organisations in healthcare.
•    Advice on marketing cross-border healthcare services.
•    Provision of experts for special events, workshops and advice.
•    Listing of member details and contacts.

Jane Billinghurst Urresti is co-founder and chairman of ECHO. Dr. Uwe Klein from EMTC 2011 is vice-chairman. Other board members include co-founder Martina Todchuk, Keith Pollard from Intuition Communication, Dr. Constantine Constantinides from healthCare cybernetics, Dr. Claudia Mika from TEMOS and Paul Vincke (European Healthcare Fraud & Corruption Network (EHFCN)). ECHO will have three advisory councils; standards and practice, ECHO development, and legal. There will be five working groups on hospitals and clinics, agents, spas, insurance and government bodies. The head office is in Brussels, Belgium, while the two local offices are in La Coruna, Spain and Bielefeld, Germany

ECHO comes from a belief of Europeans in medical tourism that existing international organizations neither understand nor well serve the region at a time of great change. Several previous attempts at creating European medical tourism associations have failed to attract support. The most recent attempt, the Budapest based European Medical Travel Alliance, appears to have made little progress since being founded back in 2009.   



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