WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA) Program for Medical Travel Services and Custom Assurance Placements, Ltd. (CAP) have announced a strategic partnership to raise awareness about innovative insurance products designed specifically for the medical travel industry.
Getting medical procedures done is already stressful enough under normal circumstances. No matter how well you know your doctor or how many times you’ve gone over the plan, it’s still normal to feel some nerves before undergoing your treatment or surgery. Imagine, then, how much more stressful and nerve-wracking it might be to have medical work performed in a foreign country where you know no one. That’s why it’s a smart idea to take a travel companion with you on your medical travel journey. Here are three benefits to bringing a travel companion on your medical tourism trip.
Feel More at Ease
As we’ve already mentioned, traveling alone to undergo medical procedures in a foreign country can be daunting, especially if you’re not a very experienced traveler. Going with a companion will not only put you at ease during the travel process but also when you go to the hospital. The staff at your hospital or medical facility may or may not speak English. This is not a reason to worry since you will likely work with a translator. However it will surely ease your mind to have a constant companion who knows you and speaks your language.
Explore and Convalesce Together
One of the many benefits of engaging in medical tourism is the tourism aspect! There are many beautiful countries where medical tourism thrives, such as Mexico, Thailand, and more. As you recover from your procedure, you can enjoy the relaxing opportunities that a foreign country has to offer. Many medical facilities and hospitals that cater to international patients may have suggestions for patients who wish to explore during their convalescence. Your travel companion will undoubtedly make your experience only more pleasant.
Have Someone to Watch Out for You
With every medical procedure, there come risks. When you’re in a foreign country, these risks can seem even larger. If you experience a complication with your medical work either during the procedure or during recovery, you will want someone you trust there to help you deal with it. In the worst case scenario, you will again want someone who knows you to take care of handling everything. This is a big reason why a travel companion is essential to have when you undergo medical tourism.
If you need complications insurance for your medical travel and insurance for your travel companion, you can turn to us.
Like any healthcare system, the industry of medical tourism needs to be held to certain standards and meet certain regulations. However, unlike traditional federal healthcare, medical tourism is often not strictly required to meet these standards and regulations. How, then, is the industry held accountable for benchmark practices of safety, ethics, and information? The answer lies in the world’s medical tourism organizations. Here are several of the most prominent.
The Medical Tourism Association (MTA)
Centered in the United States, the Medical Tourism Association is one of the best known organizations that operates in support of the medical tourism/medical travel industry. The MTA defines themselves as “a global non-profit that educates and advocates on behalf of the Medical Tourism and International Patient Industry.” The organization fosters communication with medical facilities and professionals, insurance companies, governments, and other players in the medical tourism field to expand education about globalized healthcare and raise the standards of care all over the world. As part of their mission to achieve this goal, the MTA offers its members (which include medical travel companies, insurance companies, international hospitals and healthcare providers) access to top-of-the-line educational resources and certification opportunities. The Medical Tourism Association has strong ties with members in the U.S., Canada, and Europe but they have offices serving Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East as well.
The European Medical Tourism Alliance (EUMTA)
Based in Hungary, the EUMTA has similar goals to the MTA but centers its focus on countries within the European Union. Its goal is to help these countries establish themselves as centers for medical travel, as a solution for healthcare system deficiencies in the UK and US. The EUMTA’s vision is for a united Europe to create a better medical tourism market together than they would be able to create separately.
International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS)
The IBMS exists to connect patients and medical travel companies with leading hospitals, healthcare facilities, and doctors across the world. The IBMS provides certifications to all its members, so patients have confidence they are engaging in a safe medical tourism experience. Certifications may be awarded to physicians, dentists, surgeons and other medical professionals as well as to health care centers such as hospitals and clinics.
International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT)
Recently celebrating 60 years of service, IAMAT exists to help all medical travelers by providing access to up-to-date information on health and immunization for travelers from any country in the world. IAMAT also sponsors scholarships to foster and improve standards in countries where a medical tourism market is newly emerging.
Any medical procedure, no matter where it is performed, can come with risks for the patient. However, it is undeniable that having medical work done in a foreign country comes with its own distinct set of risks. What are the risks of medical tourism, and how can international patients protect themselves against them?
While many of the highly accredited hospitals and medical facilities have English-speaking staff, that does not mean every facility does. It does not even mean that the “English-speaking” caregivers are fluent. Your hospital could be the best around, but if they cannot fully understand some of the nuances of your conversation, vital information may be missed – on both sides. This is especially scary if complications with your procedure arise.
Safety & Ethics
In the US, healthcare is a highly regulated practice. Because the government keeps a close eye on hospitals and medical facilities, you know what you’re getting when you go to receive treatment. However, not all foreign countries have the same regulations as the US. If you choose to undergo medical tourism, make sure you research the regulations of the country you will visit and see if they have any credentials for regulating facilities. The Joint Commission International is a great place to start when searching for safe care facilities abroad.
As far as ethics go, there is the matter of experimental practices. Some practices that are not approved in the US, such as using stem cells, are commonly performed in other countries. As a medical tourist, you may be seeking experimental procedures or treatments, but you also may be totally against them. Before you go, make sure you thoroughly research what kinds of practices and procedures your foreign medical provider will use.
Traveling to receive medical care in another country certainly increases the risk of medical complications. First, the chance of infections increases, especially if you are at a facility that is poorly regulated. Bacterial and viral infections, as well as diseases like HIV and hepatitis, can be spread due to unsanitary medical practices. Another thing that can cause complications is traveling soon after a surgery or procedure. If you engage in medical tourism, it is best to remain in the country for a while as you recover. Many facilities have excellent recovery units and amenities – you just have to make sure you’re visiting the right place.
Our medical tourism insurance is designed to provide coverage in the event of medical complications incurred in a foreign country. There are risks to medical tourism, but also wonderful benefits. Don’t go in unprotected.
An international patient is someone who travels outside their home country to receive medical care or procedures. These procedures are often ones that would not be covered under the patient’s health insurance. Other times, the procedures are experimental or not offered in the patient’s home country. In many cases, however, patients undergo healthcare internationally because even with the added cost of airfare and accommodation, the work is less expensive than it would be when performed in their home country – often even after health insurance.
We have covered the most popular destinations for American medical tourists, but what are the most popular procedures overall for international patients? Based on findings by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Patients Beyond Borders, here are the most common procedures and treatments for international patients:
- Cosmetic Surgery
- Joint Replacement
- Heart Surgery
- Elective Surgery
- Fertility Treatment
- Cancer Treatment
- Weight Loss Treatment
Despite the popularity of traveling internationally to receive medical care, there are certain risks associated with the practice. While medical tourism can be an incredibly successful and cost-effective solution, with opportunities to save up to 90% (according to the Medical Tourism Association), it can also be dangerous. If you are planning to engage in medical tourism, for any of the above procedures or more, make sure you’re covered against unexpected costs in the event of complications. Medical tourism insurance is there to give you peace of mind at an important and exciting time in your life.