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Legal alert no. 19

DECREE-LAW NO. 18/2017, DATED FROM FEBRUARY 10th 

It has been published in the Portuguese Official Gazette, on February 10th, the Decree-Law no. 18/2017, which aims, namely, to establish the principles and rules applicable to the Health Units that are part of the National Health System (SNS), with corporate public entity nature and the Health Units that are part of the government sector, approving the statuary specificities and the relevant statutes, and in this way promoting, (i) the connection between the different levels of care, namely, hospital health care, primary health care, integrated long care and palliative care, (ii) greater efficiency gains and system effectiveness gains and (iii) greater professionalization and training of the teams.

The Decree-Law is applicable to the Entities that are part of the SNS, allocated to the health care provision network, namely, hospitals, hospital centers, local health care units, establishments that provide health care to the SNS users and other health care services, under the terms of the agreements concluded under a public-private partnership.

In short, this Decree-Law represents an essential tool to the reform of the health care provision, through, namely, the following:

  1. Setting up of the possibility of the establishment of management organic structures, as the Integrated Responsibility Centers, in order to enhance the results of healthcare provision, improving the users accessibility and the quality of the provided services, increasing the productivity of the applicable resources;
  2. Greater training of the board of directors and of the intermediate management bodies, which members shall have important specific training in management and in health and also adequate professional experience, in accordance with the requirements foreseen in paragraph 2, of article 6, of the Statutes of the Hospitals, Hospital Centers and Portuguese Oncology Institutes, E.P.E., foreseen in Annex II attached and which is an integral part of the Decree-Law.
  3. The board of directors includes now an element proposed by the government member responsible for the finance sector, in accordance with paragraph 1, of article 6 of the Statutes of the Hospitals, Hospital Centers and Portuguese Oncology Institutes, E.P.E., foreseen in Annex II attached to and which is an integral part of the Decree-Law.
  4. Regarding the Local Health Units, the integration in the board of directors of a member proposed by the relevant Intermunicipal Community, or by the respective Metropolitan area, as foreseen in paragraph 1 of article 6, of the Statutes of the  Local Health Units, E.P.E., foreseen in Annex III attached to and which is an integral part of the Decree-Law.
  5. The procedures for purposes of appointing the services directors should be subject to public notice, in order to allow the expression of the individual interest on behalf of transparency and of equal opportunities as foreseen in paragraph 3, of article 28 of the Decree-Law.

This Decree-Law entered into force on January 1st, 2017.

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