Can You Afford Private Health Care To Avoid The Long Wait List?

Can You Afford Private Health Care

There is always a debate as to whether or not you can really afford private health care.  Having access to ‘free’ medical care is a concept Canadians have held for many years. But let’s be real, it is not free and you pay a significant premium in the way of paying taxes and waiting for what is deemed non-urgent. According to the Fraser Institute, ‘Previous research has shown Canada ranks among the top spenders on health care internationally but ranks poorly on a number of key performance indicators’. [1] Is the system perfect? No, it is not and there is much improvement to be made such as adding a private sector or cost sharing, which has proven to be effective in 8 other high-income OECD countries with universal health care. Until then, Canadians seek out other options such as private treatment.

Making the decision to pay out of pocket to receive treatment sooner is a major life altering decision but many people only look at the financial aspects of it. There are a lot of other factors to consider such as the level of pain you are in, how much time or income you’ve already lost due to limited ability or inability to work or if you are able to participate in the things you love to do such as exercising or a sport.

Questions To Consider

Are you paying for a gym membership you cannot use? How much are you currently paying for medications to treat your ailment until your procedure or surgery? Do you have monthly payments for medical devices such as braces, crutches, or wheelchair? Are you losing income? Are you in so much pain that it is hard to live a normal life?  Is it hard to get out of bed each day?

You cannot put a price tag on your health. Sometimes it takes sitting down and weighing all of the pros and cons to your decision and whether or not it makes sense financially and emotionally for you to wait months (or years) vs weeks/days.

There are a handful of financial lenders that specialize in medical travel loans.   They have very affordable payment plans should you be considering medical travel and are concerned with financing it. We work with 2 of them. If you find yourself in a situation like this, give Health Vantis a call. We offer a Free 1-hour consultation and can help walk you through the pros and cons.

 

[1] https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/03/20/1442487/0/en/Fraser-Institute-News-Release-Canada-s-health-care-system-stands-in-stark-contrast-to-more-successful-universal-systems-around-the-world.html and https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/how-canadian-health-care-differs-from-other-systems?utm_source=Media-Releases&utm_campaign=How-Canadian-Health-Care-Differs-from-Other Systems&utm_medium=Media&utm_content=Learn_More&utm_term=700

April Is Donor Awareness Month

Organ Donor Awareness Month is in April. Health Vantis talks about wait lists frequently, however, one that is seldom talked about is organ donation. We had the pleasure of speaking with Catherine Shaw, COO of The Organ Project, about their organization and how greatly needed organ donors, living and deceased are. The Organ Project is a non-for-profit Canadian charity that brings awareness to the importance of organ donation and its benefits for many people. Founder Eugene Melynk, Owner, Chairman and CEO of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, was inspired to start this charity after his own personal experience as a recipient of organ donation.

Currently, there are 4,500 Canadians on the waiting list to receive an organ.  An estimated 260 people will die this year as a result of not finding an organ in time. The reasons for an organ need could be due to trauma, virus, disease or organ failure. The most common needed organ is a kidney with approximately 76% of people needing one. The average time to wait varies per organ or tissue, however, with regards to the kidney, Ms. Shaw indicated that ‘the average wait could be 4-8 years. Those individuals remain on dialysis until they receive one’.

There are 2 types of organ donation: living and deceased.

Living donation is something you can do today. Many of these donations come from family members or friends of loved ones who have someone on the wait list in need, however, there doesn’t need to be a connection. Anyone can be considered to donate, even anonymously. Certain criteria must be met prior to. Some of the more common types of organs and tissues you can donate living are: lobe of the lung, portion of the liver and kidney, part of the pancreas, bone marrow, stem cells or blood.

Deceased donation is when your organs are donated after you have deceased. As with living donation, certain criteria must be met and the person needs to be clinically brain dead. The use of tissue from a deceased organ donor can impact up to 75 individuals and 8 lives! Some of the tissues that can be donated are: cornea, skin, heart valves, bone, connective tissue, veins or upper body bones. The organs would include heart, pancreas, liver, (2) kidneys, (2) lungs and the small intestine. All donors are treated exactly like any other surgery and in the most human and respectful way.

Canada’s Donation Rates

Canada’s donation rates are below other countries such as the US, Spain or UK. But what is the reason? 90% of Canadians say they support organ donation, however, only 20% are signed up. When asking Ms. Shaw as to why that might be she said that ‘some individuals fear that if they are an organ donor and are in critical condition, the doctor won’t try as hard to save their life’. According to Ms. Shaw, this is false. When someone is in critical condition, the critical care team is not even aware at that point whether or not that person is an organ donor. The doctors try all life saving efforts.  When there is no clinical chance of survival left, the individual is referred to the organ donation team. The family would have the option at that time to decide if they consent to the donation.

When asking Ms. Shaw what the most important message The Organ Project wants to bring awareness to she said ‘to support the idea of passing along their organs could be the greatest gift you could give someone for a second chance at life’.

The process for registering is very simple and quick.  The database is connected nationally. For information on how you can be a donor, please visit their website at: https:// www.theorganproject.net

What Should You Ask Your Medical Facilitator?

In last week’s blog we discussed the value a Medical Facilitator can bring to you. If you have decided to hire one, you probably have more questions to ask that pertain to you and your safety. Having trust in your Medical Facilitator is one of the most important things required. They are there to assist you in your journey and make sure it is a well thought out plan.  This is to assure the decision you made was the right one for you. Here are 5 questions we feel you should ask to extend more trust in your decision.

  1. Is the facility you will be sending me to an accredited hospital?

    In the U.S., Canada, Australia and Western Europe it is standard practice that hospitals are expected to acquire accreditation in order to operate.  That is not the case for many international facilities. Inspection on the quality of care, infection control, medical and nursing credentials including training, patient rights, medication management, environment of care, education and ethical standards are items measured.This is so the hospital follows minimum standards for your protection that will reduce chances of infection, staffing error or negligence. The most well known accreditation organizations are: Joint Commission International (JCI) *This is probably the one most recognized International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation (HQAA) Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) The United Kingdom Accreditation Forum (UKAF) Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI) Trent Accreditation Scheme (U.K., Europe, Hong Kong, Philippines and Malta) If a hospital does not have the appropriate world wide recognized accreditation, you might want to keep shopping.

  2. Have you been to the facility you are sending me to?

    Deciding to travel for medical care is stressful in itself. You want assurance the facility is reputable, clean and safe. A good Medical Facilitator will have been to the facility themselves to do an onsite inspection. This due diligence is for your safety. Believe it or not but we have been to facilities that looked great on their websites.  After visiting them, we chose not to send our clients there for various reasons such as cleanliness, surrounding location and lost government funding due to poor quality.

  3. What Is Your Fee?

    When going to a facility within Canada or the U.S., you can be certain that the facilitator will not receive payment from the hospital or facility. That would be unethical and not in your best interest. You want to go somewhere that is going to benefit your needs, not the Medical Facilitators pocket. An industry standard is 10-15% of the cost of your procedure or surgery. Companies such as ours will cap the fee when the cost reaches a certain point.  Cancer treatment can be quite expensive. If the Medical Facilitators fee is low or free be wary.  It will be built in somewhere or they are being paid by the hospital to bring them patients.

  4. What happens if I have a complication?

    There are policies that can protect you from complications called ‘Complications Insurance’. This is different from a standard travel insurance policy. The standard travel policy will NOT cover you should you decide to travel for medical reasons. These policies will cover medical needs that arise while traveling not related to a pre-existing issue.

  5. Can I choose my doctor?

    Yes and No. If you have a preference or already have a doctor in mind, by all means, notify the Medical Facilitator of your wishes.  Most will be happy to accommodate. Many times the doctor will vary depending on which facility you choose, your needs and the doctor’s availability. All of our facilities review the client’s medical records and pair them with the doctor they feel would best suit their needs.

There are most likely more questions you will want to ask a Medical Facilitator because everyone has different needs and concerns. Health Vantis is always happy to answer any question you have. Contact us when you do have questions. That is what we are here for.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Traveling Out Of The Country For Surgery? 5 Things To Ask Your Surgeon

5 Things You Should Know or Ask Your Surgeon

Will you be traveling out of the country for surgery?  Have you ever asked a doctor a question and thought to yourself, he probably thinks I’m an idiot? Many people do but you’d be surprised to know that would not be the case. No question you ask a doctor is a ‘dumb’ one.  In fact, if you asked them that, they’d probably tell you many people ask the same kind of questions.

When you are scheduled for a surgery, there are certainly no questions that shouldn’t be answered to your comfort level. Some of those questions might actually be about the doctor. Most people are going to want to know who it is behind the mask. Here are some questions to consider or research prior to agreeing to travel out of the country for your surgery.

  1. Is the doctor up on his/her credentials?

    All doctors, in the US and Canada, are required to take continuing education courses to keep their license valid. Other countries may have different standards.  Be sure you know what those standards are and if they have the appropriate credentials.

  2. What is the surgeon’s training or specialty in?

    You do not want someone trained as a Pulmonologist or General Surgeon doing an Orthopedic surgery. This is more common than you would imagine, especially for plastic surgery or in other foreign countries. The outcome will be more favorable when you have your surgery done with a licensed and trained specialist that is within the specialty of the surgery you are having.

  3. How many surgeries has this doctor done similar to mine?

    That old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ or ‘proficiency in numbers’ could apply here. The more surgeries a doctor does, the better skilled they become just like an athlete who trains every day.

  4. Have there been any files or judgements against the surgeon?

    This is something to check in to for your safety. If there has been a judgement, don’t discount the surgeon right away. Ask them about the case.   Some judgements are common such as an Orthopedic surgeon because the outcomes are not always as the patient expected. Someone’s expectations and emotions can sometimes get in the way of reality and the first gut instinct is to blame the doctor. (The next point will give you more details to this) Doctors who have been found negligent are the ones to be concerned with.  In that case, you may want to be more diligent in your decision to have them operate on you.

  5. Ask your surgeon what the their success rate outcome is for the procedure you are having done.  Asking a doctor about their success rate for outcomes is a good indicator of the success you may experience. In higher risk surgeries such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, cancer surgery, carotid endarectomy or heart valve or bypass surgery it is also important to know that particular doctor’s complication rates. There are many experimental procedures they may not have enough data on to know or a particular surgery such as a spinal fusion that may only have a 70% success rate.  Knowing this information and understanding it up front will help you set your expectations accurately and also give you more validation on whether or not you want to put yourself through the surgery.

Conclusion

Not every patient is the same and there are many factors doctors have to weigh such as your age, other risk factors or unknown obstacles they may encounter once they get in to do the actual surgery to determine what is best for you. Don’t ever assume, always ask. Make sure your interpretation of what the doctor is telling you makes sense so you are both on the same page and there are no surprises or misunderstandings.

Being well informed about your surgeon will give you the confidence you need. Go to your appointment prepared with a list of questions and make sure that all of them are answered to your satisfaction. Health Vantis will already have asked these questions if you utilize us. It is our job to make sure we have paired you with not only the appropriate doctor but also the best.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

5 Things A Medical Facilitator Can Do For You

What exactly does a Medical Facilitator Do?

Many people are unfamiliar with the term Medical Facilitator. We certainly were before starting our business. We had no idea a Medical Facilitator existed, exactly what they did, what their purpose was or just how valuable they could be. The more we learned about it, the more we realized just how many facets there were to what they do.  Traveling for medical treatment is very complicated. Medical Facilitators wear many hats.  In this blog, we’d like to explore some of the things they can do to save you time.

1.Research, Research, Research!  

Many people don’t realize just how much research Medical Facilitators do and how much time it requires. If you need a surgery and have decided not to wait for the system, you don’t just throw a dart and say this doctor looks good, lets go with him/her. You would probably start with exploring your options spending endless hours on your computer and making phone calls trying to find the appropriate place, doctor and facility. Medical facilitators do all of this for you. A reputable Medical Facilitator will have already established relationships with the hospital administration and will know of treatments unavailable in Canada or who to contact to explore those. They have visited the facility, done site inspections, verified facility/hospital and doctor credentials and explored the area to make sure it is a safe area to travel to. After a thorough patient intake interview they will have the specialized knowledge and expertise in knowing where to start.  They set off to do it for you.

2. Secure and safe way to transfer your medical records 

They already have systems in place to collect your medical records and get them to the appropriate facility(s) to get an accurate quote. This can be time consuming as not all doctor’s offices in Canada are easy to get records from and require multiple follow ups. Medical Facilitators ensure your records are collected in a safe and confidential manner through an established system that can go directly to the medical facility.

3. Easy Quote 

Many hospitals and facilities are not equipped to handle a medical traveler.  Trying to get a quote can be difficult. A Medical Facilitator will already have established contacts and know exactly who to call for these, negotiated rates and/or discounts not available to the public. They will be connected with financial institutes should you need financial assistance.

4. Coordinating communication between patient and surgeon 

You want to be comfortable with your doctor if you are having a surgery.  A Medical Facilitator can make the arrangements for you to communicate with the doctor or surgeon to ensure all of your concerns or questions are answered to accomplish that. They can connect your home town physician to the physician abroad in the event there are any questions.

5. Arranging travel logistics 

Medical Facilitators are a huge help with arranging travel details.  They can book your flights, help with passports, and organize accommodations and transportation. Medical Facilitators will be familiar with the area and hotels that can accommodate someone that may require an extended visit or additional handicapped assistance after a surgery and/or immediate physical therapy or home health care. They make sure extended care is established prior to your surgery.   This is to ensure the continuation of care is established. A Medical facilitator takes on the responsibility of making sure all of your questions are answered.

Traveling for medical care can be a very stressful or worrisome journey. Medical Facilitators ensure no small detail is left out or overlooked.  They provide you with the trust, care and support you will need. Making the decision to invest into your health is a big one. It takes a lot of time and research to make sure your final outcome becomes a good one. Hiring someone specialized with the knowledge and expertise in knowing how to do that will save you time and give you a better outcome. For more details on how Health Vantis can help you achieve that, please contact us!

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

5 Things That Will Improve By Considering Medical Travel

5 Things That Will Improve By Considering Medical Travel

We live in an instant gratification world. We have access to just about anything we want at the tip of our fingers. Waiting for certain medical care is not something we have much control over, but do we?  We may not have the ability to snap our fingers and have a surgery date appear on the surgeons schedule but we can utilize our resources to research other options such as medical travel.

The decision to travel for medical reasons is a big  one to make, and there are many reasons one might entertain the though but you have to weigh the pros and cons. In this blog we will explore the ‘pros’ by making the decision to.

  1. Excluded or specialty procedures currently unavailable in Canada

    Canada is a very progressive country with regards to medical treatments and care, however, there are many procedures and treatments unavailable. Cancer is a great example  of one of those because of the uniqueness it presents in every individual. Entertaining a second opinion can always be helpful to explore other options or even to confirm the treatment plan you were given concurs. You will have more certainty in your treatment plan and/or diagnosis. Oncologist.

  2. Addressing your disease or illness sooner thus preventing it from progressing further

    The longer you have an ailment that is being untreated, the higher chance you have to make things worse. For example, a knee replacement. We obviously all utilize our legs to walk and the knees bear all of our weight. They are the main hinge between the ground and the rest of your body that allow you to get around. Waiting too long for your surgery can be counterproductive. Your function going into surgery dictates how you will function afterward. The longer you wait, the more muscle tone you lose which will make your recovery much longer and harder. Something spotted early may only require a minor procedure. Delaying that could cause, in the case of a knee, destruction to the knee joint to where it is so severe that a total knee replacement is now needed.

  3. Pain level management can be kept to a minimum

    Pain is the main indicator that something is wrong. Living with severe pain may produce a chain reaction. You may not be able to develop the coping skills required.  This may cause you to become unproductive, unable to exercise or possibly put you into a depression. Although doctors are getting more cautious with giving opioids out for pain control, they still do. This is considered a risk. Being on them in the short term may be appropriate but being on them long-term will have more serious consequences such as addiction. Also, when you take an opioid it masks the pain. This could result in you to pushing yourself more than you should which can create or complicate your problem further.

  4. Being able to exercise or do the things you love to do again

    Most likely, if you need to have a surgery, you are going to have limitations. Those may prevent you from doing the things you love to do such as playing with your children or grandchildren, participating in a sport or hobbies. This can be especially difficult when it limits you from something you are passionate about such as cycling or running. Many people thrive on being active and when they can’t, the consequences can be many.

  5. Back to work sooner

    Your ailment might be severe enough that you have to go on long or short term disability because you can no longer preform your duties. This can put a financial strain on you. If you have to be off work for 4-6 months while waiting for your surgery or diagnostic test, how much income are you losing? If the income lost due to waiting is greater than the cost to have it done privately, then further consideration might be worthwhile.

Being the healthiest person you can be will only benefit you physically, mentally and emotionally. Weighing all of the pros and cons may give you the insight to make an  informed decision on what it is you need to maintain that healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to explore other options, contact us as that is what we do. We’ve already done the research for you to speed things along that much quicker.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com