Founded nearly a century ago, the Belgian Association of Hospitals is a non-profit association with a primary purpose to contribute to the development and the progress of the Belgian hospitals and the country’s health sector in general. Representing its members on national and international level, the Belgian Association of Hospitals also focuses on management issues and improving the organization of the healthcare institutions. Willy Heuschen, President of the Belgian Association of Hospitals and Secretary General of the European Association of Hospital Managers (EAHM), discusses both associations’ objectives and activities.
European Times: What are main activities of the Belgian Association of Hospitals?
Willy Heuschen: The purpose of the Belgian Association of Hospitals is to contribute to the development and promotion of hospital science and in particular to the study of internal and external management and organizational problems in health care institutions. In this regard, the Association organizes various seminars, conferences and congresses on annual level, and it also disseminates various publications, such as the quarterly Hospitals.be magazine. Nearly one third of the hospitals in Belgium are associated with us, and our members include not only CEOs, but nurses of medical directors as well. As an association, we represent our members in all groups – public and private bodies related to hospital supplies, medical and social affairs.
European Times: The Belgian Association of Hospitals is a partnerof the European Association of Hospital Managers. What are the main objectives of EAHM?
Willy Heuschen: Founded in 1970 under French law, the European Association of Hospital Managers is the umbrella association of 28 leading hospital management associations in 25 European countries. With over 16.000 individual members, EAHM is one of the world’s largest hospital management associations and represents hospital managers of public and private hospitals in the European Union and at international level, serving explicitly and exclusively the public interest. Acting as an interlocutor for the health care industry, EAHM also elaborates proposals regarding the hospital sector to the European authorities.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Willy Heuschen: Working together is sometimes a challenge, as the hospitals are competitors in the sector. Nevertheless, healthcare is a social pillar and I believe that cooperation and better understanding of the sector are prerequisites for fostering open dialogue and transparency. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the main focus should always be on the needs and expectations of the patients. In this sense, the networking policy of the federal government should be patient oriented and aimed at providing a better service.