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The first cross-border health centre in Gmünd, Austria., Source: Lower Austria Health and Social Fund

First cross-border EU hospital opens in Austria

First cross-border EU hospital opens in Austria

The hospital will create a medically integrated trans-national region between Austria and the Czech Republic

On 16 October, the European Union’s first cross-border hospital opened for patients in both Lower Austria and South Bohemia. It is called the ‘Healthacross Health Centre’ and is located in the Austrian town of Gmünd. The hospital will also provide care for the Czech town of České Velenice, right across the border.

Transcending national lines

České Velenice has around 3,500 inhabitants, and a hard time providing healthcare services. The nearest hospital is in České Budějovice, a full 60 kilometres away. Gmünd has 5,500 inhabitants and a similar problem with access to healthcare. However, together they form a patient pool big enough to warrant the creation of a hospital.

The project cost around 434,000 euros and was financed through the ‘Interreg V-A - Austria-Czech Republic’ Operational Programme by the EU’s Regional Development Fund. It was developed in close cooperation between the two municipalities.

Construction of the new hospital, as well as insuring that all staff speak both Czech and German began in 2019, and the facility is set to service roughly 9,000 cross-border patients.

According to Czech Minister for Health Adam Vojtech, cross-border hospitals are a great tool to utilise the unique features of the EU to provide quality medical services to isolated rural and border communities. He explained that the Czech Republic is currently working on similar agreements with Hungary and Slovakia.

Currently, one of the last hurdles before the healthcare integration of České Velenice and Gmünd is the different costs to services in both countries. Right now, Czech patients receive Austrian medical bills, which they then have to forward to their insurer.  According to Minister Vojtech, the issue will be resolved within the year.

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