Private PET Scan

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a diagnostic test that uses small amounts of radioactive chemical to show activity within the body on a cellular level. It helps doctors see how the organs and tissues inside your body are functioning. This test can be used to help diagnose or to evaluate how well a treatment is working.

PET scans are usually done to detect cancer, to evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer treatment therapy, to identify heart disease or a brain disorder. They measure blood flow, oxygen use, how your body uses sugar and much more. It is usually an outpatient procedure and takes about 2 hours.

PET scans can detect very early changes in your cells. CT scans and MRIs can only detect changes later, as a disease alters the structure of your organs or tissues. Sometimes a combination of two scans, CT and PET, is used to get a more well-rounded picture of the health issue.

If you are on a medical wait list to get a PET scan and do not wish to wait, we can arrange it privately. Give us a call to find out more details. Toll free 1 877 344 3544.

Free Medical Facilitation Service

Many people travel to get medical services outside of their country. An estimate of over 1 million Canadians left Canada in 2018 and received medical services someplace else. Some choose to hire a medical facilitator to help them navigate medical services in a foreign country with different laws and customs.

We at Health Vantis are such a firm. We help Canadians plan and travel for medical treatments and surgeries in the US.  However, US healthcare can be confusing and very expensive. Getting one price for surgery may prove to be nearly impossible. And even if you manage that on your own, you could be given an outrageous quote for a 20-minute outpatient surgery.

Health Vantis helps you get to a timely and safe treatment in an affordable manner. We can not do this for free. However, we believe in price transparency and honesty. Not all medical facilitation firms do their business this way. Some do not disclose what they charge their clients and bury their fee in one price. Some get paid by the facilities they refer their clients to. Such practices are illegal and unethical in the United States. In some other countries, they are not.

So what is the issue at hand you may ask? Does it matter if there is a full disclosure if I end up paying it anyway? The answer is two-fold. First comes trust. Health issues are very personal. You should be able to trust your medical facilitator. And they should be able to trust you and tell you what their services cost. This is a very delicate subject, but necessary to avoid being overcharged. Standard industry charge for medical facilitation is 10-15% of the surgery/treatment price.

Second is acting in the best interest of the client. If your facilitator gets paid by the medical facility or somehow hides it and holds a percentage out of your total payment – well, where do you think the facilitator will send you to? To the place that pays them, and not to the best suited or best qualified medical facility based on your medical issue. This is not acting in the best interest of the client.

When selecting your medical facilitator keep in mind that they are not working for free. Before committing to one, ensure that you trust them and they trust you and that they are not incentivized to act in their own interests, instead of yours.

Private Stapedectomy/Stapedotomy

Hearing loss affects 40% of Canadian adults aged 20 to 79, and 8% of children aged 6 to 19. There are a few reasons this can occur. One of them is otosclerosis. The condition is diagnosed by an otolaryngologist using hearing tests and physical examination.

In many cases, surgery is an option for the treatment of otosclerosis. The name of the surgery performed is stapedectomy or stapedotomy. Currently, stapedotomy is the treatment of choice for otosclerosis with stapes fixation. It is both simpler and safer than stapedectomy.

Health Vantis works with facilities that can do this surgery in a private manner. The wait list to see a surgeon in Canada for this procedure can take up to a year. If you or your loved one are losing hearing and need to access medical treatment faster than the current system allows, give us a call. Toll -free 1 877 344 3544.

3 Tops Reasons Why Medical Facilitator is Better Than Internet Search

What is Medical Facilitation? This question comes up in our conversation with our prospective clients, although worded differently. People ask what value we add to their internet search of a given condition or surgery. We go over our answer in the highlighted points below.

Internet Search Search Doesn’t Actually Visit All the Places, We Do!

Google search is a very powerful tool when it comes to internet search. We use it ourselves when we get an issue that is complex or requires additional investigation. With Google Earth and ability to view the surrounding area it comes as close as it can in its ability to evaluate the surrounding area. However, Health Vantis physically visits every facility we work with, inspects the inside and outside for you, meets with the doctors and administrators and asks a lot of logistical questions. We do it so that we know what to prep our clients for, so that their medical travel is less stressful. Knowing what to expect puts your mind at peace and lets you focus on getting better

Internet Search Does Not Provide Accurate Pricing, Health Vantis Does!

Although price range is sometimes given for a procedure or treatment, a lot depends on the condition of the client. Some are suited for surgery and some require additional testing. We can obtain accurate pricing for your medical treatment or procedure. Even though the US now requires hospitals to make their pricing public, finding the total price remains a challenge. Not only you will need to get the surgeon fees, but also facility, anaesthesia and whoever else may need to be involved in your procedure. You will need to know what medical billing codes are required for your procedure. An MRI is not just an MRI, there are different types for different parts of the body. Sometimes contrast is used, and a different billing code is used for that. The price will also differ based on the insurance one carries. Since Canadians carry none, the pricing you see on the internet is inaccurate.

Health Vantis identified and visited facilities that are skilled at providing a bundled price for Canadians.  And if this is something we do not offer at the time; we are willing to do all the research and leg work for you. Last thing you want to do when you feel unwell is to chase medical billing codes and pricing info from different places.

Internet Search is Just That – a Search; Health Vantis is Your Guide, Serving You from Start to End!

Many details have to be thought out and planned prior to your medical travel date. There is a lot of info out there, and it takes time to process and sift through. How many surgeries has my doctor performed? Is she Board Certified? How will I get from this appointment to the other? Do I stay in this hotel or another? When you hire Health Vantis, we ensure that no detail is overlooked. We coordinate, schedule, verify and send you reminders. You will get a pdf guide that spells out your every appointment, hospital and doctor’s credentials, addresses, payments accepted, when to make the payment, currency conversion and so on. If you need physiotherapy when you return, we will book that too!

Newsletter, May 2019

My Medical Travel Story- Iron Infusions in the UK

People travel to get medical treatments for different reasons. We all have our stories and I wanted to share mine with you. I have been iron deficient and anemic for the past two years. Last June I was prescribed iron infusions locally. Over the course of 5 weeks the infusions were done at a local hospital and the cost was fully covered by Nova Scotia MSI. It felt great, I got my energy back and had a fantastic summer.

At the end of September, the symptoms of changing iron levels started slowly creeping back in. Due to heavy monthly bleeding, I was becoming iron deficient again. I was taking oral iron daily and my diet included red meat and spinach. Despite that, my ferritin levels kept going down. I was still bleeding heavily – something my GYN and I have been working on for the past 6 months. Being on warfarin was aggravating the blood loss.

I thought I would bring it up at the appointment with my doctor to see what the suggestion might be. It was to exercise more. My blood work didn’t indicate any anemia or deficiency. It did, however, indicate that the ferritin levels were declining. The suggestion to exercise left me feeling frustrated. I knew that exercise was not the answer. I work out at least 3 times a week, eat healthy, and my BMI is normal.

Fast forward the crazy busy holiday season and the dead of winter. My symptoms worsened over. Fatigue was now in charge of my life. I woke up tired.  All day was I waiting to go to bed only to lay there restlessly and unable to sleep well.

The reality of fatigue is debilitating. The solution for me was seemingly easy – get an iron infusion and that would get my energy back.

However, this solution is very hard to obtain. The blood work has to show anemia. I was just a couple of points above, ferritin at 22. The level to get an iron infusion is below ferritin 15. At these depleted levels, one would get a referral to an appointment with a speciality doctor, an internist (about 3 months wait here in NS). Then you would be referred to the day clinic for an infusion (can take about 2-3 weeks).

In the month of Feb, I realized that it is only going to get worse, and until I hit that ferritin bottom no one can do anything here in Nova Scotia for me. I will not get to the province funded infusions till June-July, considering wait times. This realization left me feeling anxious and scared.

I found supporting evidence that iron deficiency fatigue can be successfully treated in those unable to benefit from oral iron with an iron infusion. In one of the health blogs, I came across a YouTube video about an iron clinic in London, UK. I immediately reached out to Dr. Toby Richards, and got an answer by email in about an hour. My blood work does show a deficiency. They can help with an infusion and are able to accommodate the appointment pretty fast.  I would only need one appointment and an infusion due to the newer IV iron solution.

Yes, there was a cost. And I would have to get to London, which is another cost. So I pondered and shared this information with my friends. Oh, if only I lived in the UK!

One of my friends works for WestJet. Upon hearing my monologue about being tired, and inability to get treatment locally she said: “I am working the London route on Sunday and will have a 48h layover there. Why don’t you come with me?” The reasons were many – my mother in-law just had surgery and was in recovery in the hospital, I had to leave my business for 3 days, I had commitments at my son’s school, and his after school activities and a dentist appointment and so on…It would be hard to leave all this and go get better. But how can I take care of people around me, if I can not take care of myself?

The decision was made. An email to Dr. Richards secured an appointment in two days. I was on my way to get better. I felt nervous. The infusion was using Monofer, not the same as I had here in Canada, Venofer. Even though Dr. Richards assured me it is a safer one, and it allows just one infusion, I was still nervous. What if something happens?

I arrived at the Iron clinic office and was greeted by three smiling women, two doctors and one nurse. They were happy to answer many questions I had about iron and iron infusions. Dr. Abeysiri spoke with passion about the role of iron in a human body and the research that she has been doing on it. The office was sunny and the atmosphere was friendly. My blood pressure was monitored throughout the process. It was uneventful and I was done in about 1 hour.

Back home and now over a month after the infusion, my energy levels are up, I sleep well, and no longer experience the extreme fatigue. The quality of my life is significantly improved. I am very thankful for my dear friend and for the amazing team of health professionals at the Iron Clinic who made this happen.

 

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month

During May, the Canadian Brain Tumor Foundation is reaching out to all Canadians to raise awareness about brain tumors. About 55,000 Canadians are living with a brain tumor, and every day there are 27 new brain tumor diagnoses. Depending on the type of tumor treatment plans differ. Today we wanted to highlight one of the treatment options – Gamma Knife Radiosurgery.

What Is Gamma Knife?

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery actually involves no knives or cutting. It is radiosurgery that uses specialized equipment to focus about 200 small beams of radiation on a tumor. Each beam uses weak radiation that passes harmlessly through normal tissue. They meet in the tumor spot, delivering a powerful radiation dose that affects the tumor cells. The radiation is targeted using MRI imaging, CT scans, and angiography to determine the extent of the tumor. Then a computer program maps the structure, which tells the surgeon exactly where to apply the radiation.

Why Is Gamma Knife Used?

No cutting means less invasive surgery. Sometimes a tumor in the brain is too hard to reach using standard surgery or a person is not healthy enough to undergo a standard neurosurgery. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is generally less risky than traditional neurosurgery. There are fewer complications associated with anesthesia, bleeding and infection. In addition, it may have a lower risk of side effects compared with other types of radiation surgery.

The surgery is usually an outpatient procedure and does not require stay in the hospital. Most people return to their daily activities within 1-2 days.

What Conditions Are Treated with Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?

A number of conditions can be treated with this surgery, not just brain tumors.

  • Acoustic neuromas
  • Blood vessel problems i.e. arteriovenous malformations
  • Brain tumors
  • Epilepsy
  • Nerve problems i.e. trigeminal neuralgia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pituitary tumors

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is available at a few Canadian hospitals. If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, ask your doctor if you may be a good candidate for Gamma Knife treatment instead of traditional neurosurgery.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This, and any year, please remember to ensure you are current on preventative care for women. Below are some guidelines for generally healthy women. If you have a family history of any disease please ask your doctor about preventative screening based on your family history.

If you are 64 years or younger and are otherwise healthy:

  • Mammogram (age 50-74) every 2-3 years
  • Colorectal cancer screening age 50 -75 (fecal blood sample, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy) every 1-2 years
  • PAP Smear test (cervical cancer screening) every 3 years
  • Cholesterol testing every 1-5 years women over 40 years old
  • Diabetes screening
  • Bone density test