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Monitoring Quality in a Federal State with Shared Powers in Healthcare: The Case of Belgium

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The Belgian healthcare system consists of a complex of more or less autonomous groups of healthcare providers. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the fundamental right to qualitative healthcare is secured through the services they provide. In Belgium, the regulatory powers in healthcare are divided between the federal state and the three communities. Both levels, within their area of competence, monitor the quality of healthcare services. Unique to the Belgian healthcare system is that the government that providers are accountable to is not always the same as the government that is competent to set the criteria. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of the main mechanisms that are used by the federal government and the government of the Flemish community to monitor healthcare quality in hospitals. The Flemish community is Belgian’s largest community (6.2 million inhabitants). The overview is followed by a critical analysis of the dual system of quality monitoring.


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