Medical Facilitator for Private Surgery

When it comes to traveling for medical reasons, many people do not have much experience. We hope that we never will have to seek medical care outside our home area. However, long waitlists in Canada make us look for private options for surgery in Canada and the US.

It’s a good idea to see what pops up on Google search when you type in “private hip replacement in Canada”, but what about the process and preparation? What about safety and the reputation of the facility and doctor’s credentials as well as customer experience? And one of the most important questions – how much does it cost?

If you are a busy person, hiring a medical facilitator may be an option. A good medical facilitator is your health travel advocate and expert. They will make all the logistical arrangements for you, find out the answers to all your questions, and guide you through the process. You can rely on them to do all the legwork for you so that you can focus on your health. A good medical facilitator is able to make your medical travel a much less stressful process. They usually have relationships with safe and affordable medical facilities and visited them to view the area, meet with the doctors or administrators and walk the path a patient would when sent to that facility.

However, how do you know which company to hire, who is trustworthy and worth your money? Word of mouth is a great source. Ask around, reach out to your friends and relatives for a suggestion. Google the service and make an inquiry. Make a request to refer you to their past clients and take the time to talk to them. Pay attention to how they get paid. If they are transparent with their fees, it is an indication that they will not hide anything from you. Ask them where they are located. If they happen to be in your home town, meet with them face to face if possible.

In other words, take your time selecting your medical travel facilitator. You will be glad you did. Health Vantis helped many Canadians get successful private surgery. You can find out testimonials here or just reach out and we can connect you with some of our past clients who will be able to talk to you directly.

We are at toll-free 877 344 3544 or email info@healthvantis.com

Private Surgery Success

Private Surgery Success

There are numerous reasons to travel outside one’s local area to receive medical treatment.  A procedure may not be available where you live, the wait for it is too long, or the price is too high. In dealing with COVID for the past 18 months, wait times have gotten far worse.  People are becoming desperate to be treated for non-urgent surgeries and/or diagnostic tests.  Many non-urgent surgeries should be considered urgent, especially if it impacts your livelihood.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  

If you find yourself in this position and decide to pursue private options, consider some of the following tips to make sure you have a successful outcome.

Communicate and be transparent with your local medical professional – family physician or specialist

First and foremost, we cannot emphasize the importance of communicating with your family doctor and/or specialist.  It matters tremendously at all stages of your medical journey, but especially before and after. Before the travel, give your doctor an opportunity to voice all of his/her concerns with your plans.  It will help you mitigate the risks associated with receiving medical care abroad. Remember, only your doctor will have the medical facts and necessary expertise to raise such concerns. You can ask for a second (or third) opinion, or do your own research, but it all starts with you and your doctor.

It also ends here. When you come back from your procedure, your doctor will not be surprised and unprepared to learn about your journey and if necessary, provide or advise post op care. In many, if not all surgeries, the recovery time and post op care are so important, that the success of the procedure largely depends on it and therefore, you need the medical support when you come back home.  Talk to your family doctor 4-6 weeks or earlier before you go.

Do not make your provider selection based on the price only

The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ completely applies here.  There are many exceptional doctors out there.  Pricing can vary from country to country and many may offer you low ball pricing.  Why would you pay $28,000 for a hip replacement in Canada or the US when you could get it for $7,000 in India?  Buyer beware if this is in a country outside the US and Canada.  Not all countries and/or hospitals outside Canada and the US have to meet  certain safety standards to practice.  This is monitored in Canada and the US. If you choose a country outside of these countries, make sure you have done your due diligence.  If the hospital is not a JCI accredited facility, your safety and ultimate outcome could be greatly compromised.  Also check your surgeons background to make sure they are an appropriate surgeon for what you need to have done.  It is not unusual to have a dentist perform plastic surgery for say, breast implants.  You want to have a surgeon that is licensed and trained in the specific area you are having surgery on.  This is not monitored and is allowed in other countries.

Have a plan B and be flexible

Have you thought about the fact that there is a chance after an on site physical examination, your doctor may advise a different treatment plan? There are cases of “change of treatment plans”. For example, a prior GYN client of ours was told she needed to have a specific surgery to address pain.  After reviewing her records, the surgeon in the US felt like her pain was being caused by a whole other issue.  They made an informed decision to take this surgeon’s recommendation.  Turns out, this surgeon made the right call and she had a very successful surgery and outcome.  

To prepare yourself, don’t be afraid to ask questions before you decide go.  Work with your doctor on plan B before you leave.  The more planning you do the less stressful your medical journey will be.

Also be prepared for changes to the requirements each state and province has regarding COVID rules and practices.  This has changed almost daily in the past 18 months.  Keep yourself informed and up to date so you are not blind sided by a requirement that has changed during your trip.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to discuss any of the medical travel issues further, please reach out to us – we are here to listen and give you the best answer today! Health Vantis specializes in making your medical travel more enjoyable by giving you our most personal support and care along the way – start to finish.

Health Vantis

info@healthvantis.com

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

Where To Go For Medical Travel?

Where To Go For Medical Travel

Traveling for medical reasons is becoming more and more common and accepted in North America. People go outside their local area to get medical help faster and for less. Although reports don’t analyze where medical travelers go, there is a chance the majority of them end up across the border, at the US clinics and hospitals. Why so?  There are a number of reasons to travel to the US for treatment.

Physical proximity

For some Canadian provinces, the US is only a drive away, and many clinics along the Northern US border have been catering to Canadians for years trying to get faster diagnostics or specialist help. Many destinations  are a short flight away and medical expertise is available almost immediately.

Proximity to medical facilities is not only a matter of convenience, but does have things to also consider. Increased risk of DVT is a hazard for anyone flying or driving over 4 hours. It affects people who recently had surgery and are returning home as well. With medical tourism on the rise, India and China are becoming top destinations for medical travelers; however, those are incredibly long flights for a Canadian, not to mention the COVID restrictions. Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA warns American citizens of a possible association between travel of over 4 hours and increased risk of DVTs. The risk is caused mainly by prolonged limited mobility and is applicable to long travel by car or bus.

No language barrier and few cultural differences

Communicating with your doctor and nurse in the same language is essential. Although medical staff in other countries speak English, there are still existing cultural differences in place that may affect the overall patient experience. USA and Canada seem to have enjoyed years of being peaceful neighbors and share similar values. Although the cultural differences do exist, they are not major.

Upon discharge, it is wise to have all your medical records in the language of your home country. Since there are no language issues between the two countries, those are easily compiled and passed on. In addition, the patient’s primary physician is a phone call away, should anything need to be discussed in follow up care, or if a primary care physician needs more information from a doctor who performed the procedure.

Faster access to medical advances

Medical discoveries and advances no doubt happen in many countries. Canada has kept up with most of them and is able to offer the most up to date treatments.  There are, however, some things unavailable due to untrained doctors and/or funding issues.  On a rare occasion, you might need to travel to the US for a more specialized treatment.

Nearly identical medical standards

Graduates of Canadian medical schools are not considered “foreign medical graduates” and their residency training in Canada is considered equivalent to residency training in the US.  Generally, if a Canadian physician has a provincial license, she can obtain a US license in the state she intends to work. The same applies to the US trained doctors in Canada – they are not considered an international medical graduate. This implies that general standards in training and knowledge are very much the same in both countries. This is very comforting to all Canadians choosing the US for their medical treatment – they will get the same quality if they were at home, but without the wait.

Receiving medical care in countries other than the US and Canada can have its implications. The government of Canada warns its citizens that:

  • Some countries’ medical services may not test blood for blood-borne infections like HIV or hepatitis B. There can also be a risk of acquiring malaria from local blood banks in areas where malaria is present. 
  • Be aware that there are multi-drug resistant bacteria in hospitals and other health care facilities around the world.
  • Little, if any information regarding the surgeons’ credentials may be lacking in other countries.  Due diligence for a surgeon’s experience and history is probably one of the most important steps in deciding who does your surgery.  You do not want a dentist performing a spine surgery.

Importance of follow up care

Follow up care is often not provided in many Caribbean countries of medical tourism. For example, physical therapy is essential in recovery for cardiac and orthopedic patients. This reason alone is enough not to go to a hospital that doesn’t provide it. Health Vantis works with hospitals and facilities in the US that will start physical therapy right after surgery and will continue twice a day until the patient is discharged. Health Vantis also makes sure our clients have physical therapy arranged at home prior to them getting home.

Clear legal recourse

Although this part is something that we want to avoid at all costs, malpractice happens in all counties. The legal recourse is, however, very hard to obtain in many counties. In the US all doctors carry malpractice insurance. The legal recourse is defined in a clear way and is available in case something goes wrong.  In other countries, there can be jurisdiction issues.

Canadians are wary of the high cost of medical services in the US and are holding back because it is simply too expensive. Health Vantis works with facilities that are affordable and adhere to high standards not only in positive outcomes but patient experience. The pricing Health Vantis offers is comparable, if not better, to the pricing in the Caribbean Islands or other exotic destinations. If you are interested in finding out more about a certain procedure and its cost, please contact Health Vantis today at toll free 1-877-344-3544 or by email info@healthvantis.com

Health Vantis

info@healthvantis.com

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

What is Health Vantis?

What is Health Vantis?

We get calls and emails on a daily basis asking if we are a medical facility.  WE ARE NOT!  We are a medical facilitation company.   We can assist you in finding a private facility within Canada or the US to do your surgery and/or diagnostic test.  Health Vantis does not employ medical professionals and cannot provide any kind of medical advice.  In fact, we are a 2 person, women run, small business based out of Halifax, NS.  Our business was created due to the frustration we both experienced within the Canadian health care system for ourselves and children.  

Our company focuses on helping individuals that are on a long wait list for diagnostic tests and/or surgery.  On occasion, we get calls for procedures not offered in Canada.  Most of the time we can assist you in finding a private facility, however, not always within Canada.  The private options in Canada are very limited.  Going for a private surgery will almost always involves travel.  

Traveling for medical care can get very cumbersome.  You will quickly find it takes hours of research, emails, phone calls and follow up.  There is a lot to consider and plan for.  Health Vantis helps you navigate all of this.  We have experience in working with a number of facilities that are used to treating medical travelers.  We know and understand what the requirements are and can assist you from start to finish so no detail is left out.  There are arrangements that need to be done that one might never even consider, such as a border crossing letter.

The entire process can be challenging and overwhelming, especially if you are already in a lot of pain from your ailment.  We manage your case so you don’t have to stress over the arrangements such as obtaining a price, coordinating medical record transfer, hospital paperwork, making flight, hotel and transportation arrangements, and making sure a follow up treatment plan is in place when you return home.  With COVID, there are also additional hoops you need to jump through.  We keep you up to date and well informed on what those requirements will be.  

Our pricing is transparent.  We charge a $100 non-refundable fee to have your medical records transferred and reviewed by a surgeon or to make arrangements for a diagnostic test.  If you move forward with a surgery, we charge 10% of the cost of the surgery to manage the remainder of your journey.  The $100 fee initially paid is applied to this cost.   We spend a great deal of time communicating with our facilities and making sure you are in the loop on everything for the entire process.  

Health Vantis does not receive money from the facilities to bring them patients.  In fact, that is illegal and, in our opinion, unethical.  We recommend facilities that we think would be in your best interest based on your need(s).  We never make you commit to proceeding with a surgery and do not charge you if you decide not to pursue it, other than the initial $100 deposit.

Medical travel can be done but there are a lot of things to consider and coordinate.  If you would like to know what your options are, please contact us and we’d be happy to listen to your needs and come up with a solution for you.  We can be contacted at info@healthvantis.com or 877-344-3544.

Updated Border Crossing Restrictions

Updated Border Crossing Restrictions

On September 21,2021, the US decided to extend their non-essential travel restrictions between the US and Canada through October 21, 2021.  This includes fully vaccinated individuals.  The goal is to ease the restrictions to fully vaccinated individuals beginning November 2021.  These restrictions do not apply to people traveling for medical purposes.

Non-essential travel into Canada has been approved.  All travelers coming back into Canada must submit a negative PCR-COVID test taken within 72 hours of getting on a flight or crossing the border via car.  Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.  If you are NOT fully vaccinated, you will need to quarantine for 14 days on your return flight/drive back into Canada and provide another negative PCR-COVID test 8 days after your return.  If you are fully vaccinated, you are exempt from quarantine and 8 day testing requirement.  You will need to upload a copy of your vaccination card through ArriveCAN within 72 hours before your travel along with your negative PCR-COVID test.

If you are considering medical travel, we can assist in making sure you understand and are aware of all current requirements.  Medical travel is considered essential travel and there would be no issues coming to the US should you travel there for treatment.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

info@healthvantis.com

877-344-3544

Private Knee Replacement in the US and Canada

In 2020, an estimated 1.2 million Canadians were waiting for a medical procedure. Specialists’ physicians reported a record wait time of 22.6 weeks across the country. The wait times vary widely depending on which province you live in. Some Canadians, unsatisfied with these long wait times, choose to pay out of pocket for surgery or treatment and travel to the US or other Canadian provinces to obtain private care.

If you are seeking private surgery or diagnostics, Health Vantis can help. Our approach is simple and transparent. We have done a lot of research so that you don’t have to waste your time and can focus on your health. We visited most of the facilities we work with. We looked into the medical facilities’ accreditations, infection rates, and re-admittance rates. We checked the doctors’ credentials and patient experience feedback.

When you call us, we will try to give you more than one geographical option, although sometimes it is not possible due to limited affordable private facilities in the US and Canada.

From your first phone call our process will look like this:

  1. We have a conversation with you about the issue you are enquiring to get more details, what has been done prior to your call,
    your expectations, and the general timeline. This will help us determine if we can help.
  2. If we are able to help and you would like to go forward, we will need to collect all your medical records. In order for us to be able to view your records, a Release and Consent form needs to be signed and a small admin fee paid. We will submit the records for a medical review at one or more medical facilities. Once we get feedback from them, including estimated pricing, a phone or video consultation is set up to talk to your doctor.
  3. After the consult, it is up to you if you would like to proceed with your private surgery or treatment. If your decision is to go ahead, we will make all the arrangements for you, including a date for surgery, pre-op consult, accommodations, airfare and transportation. We will provide you with your personalized medical travel guide that will include every piece of information needed. No detail is overlooked. Once your surgery is complete, we will check in on you until you are back home and fully recovered. If there is a need for physical therapy upon return home, we will make advanced arrangements for you.

It is important to mention that we do not hide our fees in the total price. Our fees are paid directly to us, and fees for surgery are paid directly to the facility. This transparent process is honest and trustworthy. Some medical concierge services provide you a total price, but you will never know what your surgery really costs and what they withhold as their fee.

Knee replacements have longer wait times than other surgeries in Canada. Even though doctors think you can wait, sometimes the price of waiting and living in pain is not worth it. Private knee replacement is an option for all Canadians.

If you are looking to find out more details about what your private options for surgery may be, please email us at info@healthvantis.com or give us a call at toll-free 877 344 3544.

Private Clinics in Canada and the US and How to Find Them

When presented with long medical wait times some Canadians choose not to wait and seek private surgery or treatments somewhere else. The US is the closest and most familiar destination. However, there are certain challenges, such as costs. Big names such as Mayo and Clevland charge so much that only a few select can afford it.

What can you do if you are seeking private healthcare in the States but are not able to afford 50K+ bills? One of the things you can try on your own is google medical specialties in the US destination closest to you and call them to find out the pricing and availability. This requires your dedicated time, persistence and energy. Not all facilities in the US see patients from Canada, but some, especially in border towns have set up out-of-pocket pricing and see many Canadians fed up with long medical wait lines. Make sure that pricing given to you includes facility, anesthesia and surgeon fees.

Hiring a medical facilitator to do all the leg work for you is another option. They usually already have established relationships with certain US medical facilities. A reputable medical facilitator would be able to talk to you about your private surgery options based on your request. They can give you the surgical facility and doctor’s background, such as the number of procedures done per year, complications and infection rates. Nurse-to-patient ratios and patient experience should be discussed.

Another advantage of hiring a medical facilitator is that they will take care of all the logistical arrangements so you can focus on your health. Traveling for medical reasons can be overwhelming.  A good facilitator will add value by taking care of all these logistical worries such as gathering your medical records and safely transferring them for a medical review, setting up a phone consultation with a doctor, making hotel, flight and transportation reservations. They should serve as your single point of contact for all your medical travel needs.

If your hope is to stay in Canada for private surgery, there is hope. Some private clinics exist, but there are few. Some of them are only accessible to out-of-province Canadians. Your medical facilitator can discuss these options with you.

If you would like to find out more about your private surgery or treatment options, give us a call, toll-free 877 344 3544 or email us at info@healthvantis.com

Private Surgery and When to Consider It

Canadian healthcare works well if there are no waitlists. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many people. Covid-19 pandemic is creating even longer medical lines.

How Long Is Too Long?

Waiting for medical treatment has consequences. What the Canadian medical system thinks is an acceptable wait is not be acceptable to many Canadians. Those that live in pain can suffer from mental anguish and their condition can deteriorate leading to more complications.

In addition, every day that people live in pain is not exactly a great day. So if you have been waiting for a while, and think that you are no longer willing to wait, consider your private options. At the very least find out what they are so you can decide.

Are You Able to Travel?

Another thing to consider when thinking about going the private route is that in the majority of the cases one has to travel outside their local area to get private care. We work with medical facilities in the US and Canada. Many Canadians do not want to go to the US just yet. It’s understandable. Unfortunately, only a handful of private clinics exist in Canada.

Do Your Research!

If you are willing to travel and are considering private options, we suggest doing thorough research on the place and doctor you are going to see. How many procedures are done at the facility? What are the outcomes? Infection rates? How many of the procedures you are seeking a doctor does a month?

Also, consider the distances you will go. Flights over 4h carry higher risks of DVTs.

If you are busy or do not feel well to do your research, hire a reputable medical facilitator to guide you through the process and make all the arrangements for you. You should also ask the facilitator how they get paid. The answer will provide you with a little bit of info into the integrity of the facilitation business. Look for those that are open to disclose how they get paid.

If you have any questions or would like to know your private options, please give us a call at toll-free 877 344 4544.

Will You Travel for Private Elective Surgery?

It has not been easy for many people all over the world to adapt and live with the new virus, COVID-19. In Canada, medical wait times for certain elective procedures were long even before COVID. In March, when all elective surgeries were cancelled or postponed, it is reasonable to think that the list is getting even longer and people’s surgeries are pushed even further away.

Canada provides universal healthcare. There are oftentimes very few options to get surgery in a private, and timely, manner. Usually, Canadians travel to get their treatments elsewhere. During the global pandemic, a decision to travel outside of your local area may be a difficult one to make.

Many Canadians seeking private elective surgery or diagnostic would like to get it in Canada. Options here do exist, but the list of surgeries and geographical locations are not very many. In the past, travelling to the US was an obvious choice. However, with borders between the two countries being closed to non-essential travel, many think it is not possible and is too dangerous, due to the number of COVID infections in the US.

Travelling for medical reasons is considered essential by the US government, so a Canadian coming for surgery will be allowed to cross the border and get a private surgery or treatment. All the medical facilities in the US take every necessary precaution to reduce the possibility of COVID spread.

The choice to travel for medical reasons is a very individual one. It will depend on your overall health, age, a medical condition you are travelling for and your overall risk tolerance. Health Vantis can help answer some of the questions you may have. We can also arrange for a phone consultation with a doctor so that all the medical concerns are answered in advance. Give us a call toll-free 877 344 3544.

Airlines Safety Measures, an Update

Travelling by air nowadays can be perceived as unsafe due to potential exposure COVID-19. However, if you have to fly, we prepared a short summary of 5 airlines.  We looked at 2 Canadian airlines – Air Canada and WestJet and 3 US – United, Delta and American to give you an update on safety measures put in place.

When we wrote our first blog on airline safety back in June, blocking the middle seat was being done. Now that it is September, the airlines are no longer doing this. WestJet even issues a special statement about it. So, what is being done to ensure passenger and crew safety?

Across the board all five airlines have these measures in place:

  • Mandatory mask or face coverings
  • Hospital-grade HEPA filters on aircraft (remove 99.99% of all airborne particles)
  • Enhanced screening for symptoms
  • Plexiglass shields in the lobby and check-in
  • Contactless check-in
  • Enhanced cleaning protocol at all stages of air travel – in the airport, at the check-in counter, boarding area, aircraft and luggage pick-up area
  • Boarding is modified to allow fewer people at a time and with clearly marked social distance

Additional measures put in place by Transport Canada is temperature checks at all major airports in Canada. Air Canada and WestJet perform infrared temperature checks and those with elevated temperature will be denied boarding and will be given an opportunity to re-book the air travel in 14 days. If your temperature is elevated due to a non-COVID reason you must present a medical certificate stating those reasons.

If a customer refuses to wear a mask, the plane can not depart. There have been instances in both US and Canada where flights were cancelled, or airport security was involved in resolving a conflict. WestJet even puts these non-compliant customers on a year ban list with the airline. They also implemented the mandatory sharing of guest contact information. Such measure will help Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial health authorities track transmission chains should a passenger later test positive.

Air Canada introduced Virtual Queuing to minimize check-in wait times and contact at certain counters. Customers can scan their boarding pass to enter a virtual queue and are notified via smartphone to proceed to the counter for assistance.

United Airlines and Air Canada can notify their customers if their flight is getting close to full and provide them with an opportunity to re-book a less full flight with no charge.

To encourage Canadians to travel abroad, Air Canada is currently offering a complimentary Manulife COVID-19 emergency medical and quarantine insurance for all its new bookings made from September 17th, 2020 until October 31st, 2020. Travel must be complete by April 12, 2021. More information about the eligibility can be found here.

United Airlines added an option of VIP bag delivery. For a small fee, a traveller can avoid luggage pickup that potentially can have a lot of people and have their bags delivered within 100 miles of the airport. They are also in the process of rolling out antimicrobial technology, NovaRover, on all aircraft to add an additional layer of disinfectant on board.

American airlines are seeking Global Biorisk Advisory Council (BGAC) STAR accreditation to ensure they have proper procedures to respond to biological threats like COVID-19.

As you can see, airlines are continuing to put a lot of efforts in making air travel safe again.  As information about COVID-19 evolves and we learn more, airlines will also respond.