Who Would Benefit From Medical Travel

Who Would Benefit From Medical Travel

Medical travel, otherwise known as medical tourism, has been around for many years.  Yet, it seems to have gained more popularity in the past decade.  There are many reasons as to why someone would travel for medical treatment but exactly who would benefit from medical travel?  The answer is if your quality of life has been hampered, you are unable to work, losing money as a result or the pain is unbearable, then you would benefit.  

Elective Procedures

In an urgent case, getting treated in a timely fashion usually happens.  When it does not involve a medical emergency, the provincial government heath plans consider these elective procedures and/or non-urgent.  It doesn’t mean that the provincial insurance won’t cover what you need to have done, in most cases, however, you may just have to wait.  When it involves something that creates limitations in your day to day health, then it sure seems like it is urgent.  Constant pain is physically limiting and distracting with difficulties in focusing .  This will create a decrease in your productivity or ability to work.   

In other instances, it could be a cost benefit for surgeries such as elective plastic surgery or dental procedures.  The cost for these surgeries is not covered by the provincial government health plans and can be pretty pricey to pay out of pocket.  Therefore, one may opt to have things done elsewhere.

Procedures Not Available In Home Country

Availability for cutting edge and newer techniques are not always a luxury we have access to.  In many situations, a more involved surgery might be determined solely on the fact that the surgeon doesn’t have the appropriate training or tools to do a less invasive type of procedure.  There are other cases where the procedure or technology is simply not available such as in a cancer case.  In these scenarios, it is prudent to research your options.  Getting a second opinion is the best way to navigate this and explore your options.  You just may find something you didn’t know existed and be a better treatment for you.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Organ Transplants and Medical Tourism

Organ Transplants and Medical Tourism

From time to time we get calls and emails from individuals seeking organ transplants.  The requests not only come from Canadians but individuals from other countries looking to come to Canada or the US for the surgery.  Organ transplant cases are probably the most complex kind we could ever assist in because there are so many variables and factors to account for when making arrangements for such a surgery.

Black Market

For starters, we cannot help someone locate an organ for them.  This is actually illegal in all countries around the world, with the exception of Iran.  Despite these prohibitions, the trafficking of organs is still done globally on what they call the ‘Black Market’.  People are willing to sell their organ(s), such as a kidney, in exchange for money.  It’s pretty evident why this would and should not be allowed.  

Having A Match As A Donor

Some of the calls we’ve gotten are from individuals that have a family member that is a match for them.  In cases like this, we can help, however, the requirements and financial aspects of having it done privately can be quite stringent and cost prohibitive  For someone coming from another country to the US or Canada, certain requirements have to be met prior to a hospital even considering doing the surgery. 

The out of pocket expense to have an organ transplant surgery would start around $100K USD and go up.  The hospital would not only require proof of financial means to pay for the surgery through a verifiable source, but also need proof that the recipient has the financial means or insurance for the follow up care, which is life long, and very expensive.  In addition, they would require proper testing to have been done on the donor such as a physical exam, immunological tests, multiple lab and tissue tests, EKG, chest x-ray, psychological evaluation, urine samples and several others should the surgeon feel they are warranted.  The US & Canada also require a Visa to enter if you are from certain countries.  This would need to be approved in advance as well.

Being A Donor

Unfortunately, waiting for the appropriate organ can take several months to several years.  Not everyone is successful in finding a match.  One thing you can do to help contribute to those in need is to become a donor should you pass away unexpectedly.  The process for registering is very quick, simple and the database is connected nationally. 

There is also living donation should you be interested.  Living donors can give a kidney, bone marrow and partial lung, pancreas, intestine or liver.  This of course, is out of the goodness of your heart as you will not receive any kind of monetary incentive.  Things such as plasma and blood are also considered donations that are always needed.  For information on how you can be a donor, please visit: https:// www.theorganproject.net

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

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.

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!

Dangers in Medical Travel

Dangers in Medical Travel

In the past few months you might have seen an increase in articles in the media warning about the dangers of Medical Travel to Mexico or Dominican Republic /or against traveling to Mexico or Dominican Republic for medical reasons.  This includes a recent warning from the CDC not to have surgery in a specific region and hospital in Mexico and Dominican Republic.  While there is a cause for concern, the results can be different, if you select a facility based on knowing what to watch out for.   There can be dangers in Medical Travel but if you ask the right questions and verify the given information, those can be avoided.

Dangers To Avoid

  • The facility does not have a US, Canadian or JCI Accreditation 
  • You cannot verify the surgeons credentials and what they are certified to perform in, that they are up to date and what their actual training was in
  • The facility doesn’t publish their infection rate
  • There is no procedure in place if there is an emergency or something goes wrong during the operation 

But It’s Cheaper

While cost is important it should not be your deciding factor.  Many people think, it’s just breast implants or a simple hernia surgery.  They do these every day.  What could go wrong?  If the right standards are not met, A LOT!  Sometimes you get what you pay for and your health should not be compromised to save a few dollars.  

Having a safe, successful surgery should be your number 1 priority.  That can be achieved if you gather all the facts.  This can be incredibly time consuming but well worth the effort.  Hiring a Medical Facilitator that does all of this for you will ensure no detail or question is left unanswered.  It also gives you a guide through the entire process.  If you are in need of such knowledge and expertise, contact Health Vantis today!  

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Published US Pricing of Medical Costs Online

Published US Pricing of Medical Costs Online

The US recently passed a law that requires hospitals to post their pricing.  This was done so consumers could make an informed decision on where they are treated and what it would cost them.  To the public this sounds like a great idea, right?  However, this only confuses and complicates things further.  US pricing of medical costs are complicated and far from straight forward!

Up until now, you could google the cost of a procedure or service and would get a dozen different prices as answers.  That is because US health care is so complex.  There are websites out there that give you ranges of a service and what would be the high, low or fair price, however, these are often not updated or have inaccurate information.  They also don’t account for insurance rates, bundled payments or cash customers.

In English Please

With the new law, the prices listed are not required to be written in plain language.  They are only required to be ‘machine readable’ in the form of a spreadsheet.  They do not include the prices insurance companies have negotiated nor do they give a price as a whole.  You also need to understand how to read diagnosis codes to make sure you have the correct service.

More times than not, there are other charges related to the service you need to be unaware of.  For example, if you are looking to have a biopsy done, the cost is not just for the biopsy itself.  There could be a facility charge, doctor’s fee and pathology fee that will be extra.  Those often are billed separately which each item.

The only sure way to know what the price is would be to know who to call and what to ask for but even then, you still might not get an accurate price.  If you are considering coming to the US for a surgery or diagnostic test, contact a medical facilitator who is experienced in knowing how to get an accurate price.  Health Vantis knows how to get this for you so you don’t spend countless hours going in circles.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

Affordable Dental

What’s been brewing with Health Vantis this year you ask?  We have been cooking up new locations to our facility list and not just medical facilities.  We have also located very affordable dental practices for you!  

Dental coverage and treatment are expensive and not covered by your provincial health care.  Because of this, many people make routine check ups secondary on their list of priorities.  When we neglect our teeth, we are essentially neglecting our health.  Poor oral hygiene doesn’t just affect your teeth.  It can also increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, diabetes and in some cases dementia.  It may lead to things as small as cavities all the way up to more serious issues that require major surgery.

Just like any medical condition, early detection and treatment will help to ensure a better outcome.  It is suggested that you see your dentist every 6 months for routine cleanings.  This will help to prevent gum disease or other oral health issues.   If you notice signs or symptoms such as these listed below, please be sure to contact a dentist for an evaluation:

Symptoms

⁃Tender, red or swollen gums

⁃Gums that bleed when you brush or floss

⁃Appearance that your gums are pulling away from your teeth

⁃A permanent tooth is loose

⁃Sensitivity to hot or cold

⁃Persistent or unusual taste in your mouth or bad breath

⁃Difficulty swallowing

⁃Mouth sores or ulcers that are not healing

⁃Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align with each other

There is that saying ‘You only get one chance to make a good impression’ and a beautiful smile is usually associated with that.  Attending to your teeth not only looks great but also provides for a healthier you.  If you are in need of dental treatment or repair, give us a call to see how we might be able to connect you to an affordable dental solution.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

How Many People in Canada Travel for Medical Care?

How Many People In Canada Travel For Medical Care

The Fraser Institute conducts surveys on an annual basis for specialists.  The specialists are asked to provide data on the care their patients receive.  This research always produces an estimation of how long our wait times are but another area they also gain insights into are how many people in Canada travel for medical care outside of our borders.

The question asked on the survey is: ‘Approximately what percentage of your patients received non-emergency medical treatment in the past 12 months outside of Canada’. (1)  The number reported was 63,459 for 2017.  This survey is only sent to doctors in 12 specialties, those which have been documented to have the longest wait times.  If all specialties are not surveyed, that could mean, perhaps, that there are more than 63,459 Canadians leaving for medical care.

Reasons?

What were the reported reasons someone might travel for medical care? (*all reasons listed provided by Fraser Institute survey results)

⁃The inability to get quality care in a timely manner

⁃They have been sent out of the country by the public system due to lack of available resources or the procedure or equipment was not provided in their home jurisdiction

⁃ Concerns about quality and are seeking more advanced health care facilities, state of the art medical technologies or better outcomes

⁃To avoid some of the adverse medical consequences of waiting for care.  Those could include worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death.

⁃To avoid a delay and make a quicker return to normal life.  

Canadians may leave the country for medical treatment that is not reported for this survey’s purpose.  Those could include dental care or cosmetic surgery.  These 2 are considered elective and not covered by the public health care system.  Services like these can also be very expensive in Canada, prompting individuals to look outside of the Canadian borders for cheaper prices.

Medical travel has been around for centuries.  It has gained increasing popularity in the US due to the cost of healthcare businesses face.  While health care is expensive in the US, there are many facilities that can provide affordable prices.  More and more surgical centers are following this trend to be competitive and lie right across the border.  There are no statistics out there to indicate where most Canadians travel for medical care, however, the US has been known to be the most popular destination due to its close proximity.

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

 

  1.  https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/leaving-canada-for-medical-care-2017.pdf

Medical Travel For A Sports Injury

Medical Travel for the Athlete

In the past few months we have been getting a few calls from injured athletes looking for a faster solution to their medical problem. Athletes are tough individuals and can usually push through the pain, however, sometimes that is just not possible.  Many times it requires medical attention that might include a diagnostic test or surgery in their future.  It is difficult for an athlete to hear they need to have a specialist consult but cannot get in for 9 months.  Or that they need to have a surgery but have to wait another 6 months.  That is when we get a call inquiring about medical travel for a sports injury.  

Athletes are people who are most likely in the best physical fitness you could imagine.  Even for a non-professional athlete, if you are a consistent runner, swimmer, tennis player or softball player on a league just for fun, chances are your health is important to you.  But even our most fit people can and do get injured.  

Sitting on the sidelines watching your other team members continue to play can cause feelings of anger, frustration and even depression. Injuries not attended to can cause irreversible further damage, loss of muscle tone, the ability to be productive at school or work or potentially a long term disability.   Knowing what your options are may give you the motivation to focus your energy on finding a solution so you can get back out there and play.  Turning to a Medical Facilitator is one of those options.

Why A Medical Facilitator?

When you contact a Medical Facilitator, they listen to what your needs are.  This will help you determine possible alternatives.  They can offer suggestions such as getting your diagnostic test, ie. CT Scan or MRI, done at a private facility.  The benefit of a private and fast diagnostics test is being able to get into the specialist sooner.  

Not all provinces have a wait list a mile long, however, there are many that do.  We recently had a young athlete contact us that had been waiting 6 months to see an orthopedic specialist, all the while in excruciating pain due to a shoulder injury.  His appointment was scheduled for Feb 2019.  That is a 1-year wait of being in pain knowing there will likely be another wait to have the surgery.  Situations like this make it impossible for an athlete to grin and bear it.  

Being proactive and seeking out other alternatives, such as private treatment are a great option.  The cost to pay out of pocket might be minimal in the grand scheme of things when your livelihood and health are affected. 

Contact Health Vantis if you or someone you know is stuck on the sideline waiting.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com