I have a number of wishes for the medical travel industry that could help make medical travel journeys better and safer.
Here are three wishes for medical tourism that take little or no money to implement yet can make a world of difference for those who travel abroad for treatment.
1. That hospitals give medical travelers their COMPLETE medical files as part of the discharge process.
Patient medical information belongs to the individual, and includes all data the hospital has collected while the patient was being diagnosed or treated including operative notes and detailed medical bill. Having this information in hand may make the difference between life and death when a patient needs treatment at home.
And … patients shouldn’t have to make a special request for them. For some hospitals, like MTQUA Medical Tourism Certified Specialty Hospital in Amman, Jordan, it is standard practice to present all medical information to the patient at the time of discharge, including operative notes.
2. That hospitals and clinics not withhold the passports of medical travelers.
The practice of keeping passports hostage in the belief that this somehow guarantees that a hospital bill get paid in full is illegal and, some say, a violation of human rights. It is against the law for employers to hold foreign workers’ passports. Don’t medical travelers have the same rights as foreign workers?
A year ago, British citizen Allan Cox landed in hospital in the Dominican Republic. When he was unable to pay his hospital bill in full, the hospital reportedly said it was keeping his passport until he was able to pay for the treatment he received. This is standard practice in a number of countries.
3. That health insurance companies cover the cost of a third-party care manager or facilitator as part of medical travel insurance policies.
Medical travelers are safer and their outcomes are better, while insurance companies get an independent view of the insured’s treatment and care.
Insurance coverage for some Russian medical travelers includes payment of a medical travel facilitator acting as a care manager.
Let’s get these done in 2017!