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.

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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:


⁃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.


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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.


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.


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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.

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Phrenic Nerve Reconstruction

Health Vantis recently visited a facility that addresses one of the less common yet very difficult to treat conditions. It is phrenic nerve damage. We connected with the administration of the medical facility and are now proud to say that we are happy to help those that may need this type of surgery. There are only a few surgeons in the world that are qualified and experienced to perform phrenic nerve reconstruction.

What is phrenic nerve?

Phrenic nerve is not a household name and many people probably have not heard of it. Yet it keeps us alive as we breathe. The nerve controls the diaphragm muscle, which controls the breathing process. It is in charge of voluntary and involuntary breathing, such as during sleep, by transmitting signals from the brain and spinal cord to the esophagus. We breathe without making much effort and it is all due to the phrenic nerve. Its primary function is to carry out our breathing without us having to think about it or tell our body to do so.

Phrenic nerve is a twin nerve. It begins in the brain and continues down to the first few vertebrae of the spine. Then it splits. The two nerves go down through each side of the body. The right side comes in contact with the windpipe and heart while passing the lungs. The left side also comes in close contact with the heart, with both sides eventually ending up in the diaphragm. Because of its location and proximity to both the lungs and the heart, the nerve can be impacted if there are specific conditions in either of these organs. If either of the nerves is damaged and signals between the brain and diaphragm are interrupted, normal breathing may be prevented.

What are the symptoms of phrenic nerve damage?

People with phrenic nerve injury experience difficulty breathing.  Depending on the severity of the injury, they may become winded after climbing a flight of stairs or even tying their shoes. For some, difficulty in breathing while lying down can interfere with sleep, causing insomnia. Symptoms can include lethargy, headaches and blue-tinged lips or fingers.

The most severe impact of phrenic nerve damage is diaphragm paralysis, which prevents the patient from being able to regulate breathing on his or her own.

Why does it get damaged?

The most common causes of phrenic nerve injury are surgical complications and trauma. Phrenic nerve damage may occur after a major operation such as neck dissection for head and neck cancer, lung surgery, coronary bypass surgery, heart valve or other vascular surgery and thymus gland surgery. After the surgery, sometimes scar tissue forms in the neck, which compresses the nerve. Injuries can also result from epidural injections or other types of nerve blocks, as well as chiropractic manipulation of the neck, which can disturb the roots of the spinal nerves.

What can be done?

There has been little hope for individuals suffering from this condition until recently. Treatment options for phrenic nerve injury have been limited to either nonsurgical therapy or diaphragm plication, neither of which attempts to restore normal function to the paralyzed diaphragm.

Advances in nerve decompression and transplant allow reconstructive plastic surgeons to reverse diaphragm paralysis.  The techniques used are derived from the procedures commonly used to treat arm or leg paralysis, which have allowed surgeons to restore function to previously paralyzed muscle groups. The doctor either corrects or transplants the nerve in order to restore function.

The rarity of the condition makes it difficult for patients with a phrenic nerve injury to find treatment.  The condition is often misdiagnosed or viewed as insufficiently severe enough to require corrective surgery.

Patients who have undergone phrenic nerve surgery report improvements in their physical and respiratory function, and a reversal of the sleeping difficulties related to diaphragm paralysis.

If you or a loved one suffers from phrenic nerve injury, it is likely you have been told by your physician that you must learn to live with this deficit. Well, that is simply not true. Contact Health Vantis to get connected to the world-class board certified surgeon who will help you or your loved one.

Best Medical Travel Company in Canada – How to Choose Yours

When looking for help and expertise in choosing your medical facilitator for a surgery abroad, there are certain criteria that need to be met in evaluating your medical travel or tourism facilitator. It is a very personal decision and one of most importance – to trust someone with your health. We wanted to bring up some factors for you to consider when you email or call a company. This checklist can be used in addition to your specialist or surgeon questions. We covered those in another blog. Best medical travel professionals are the ones that meet all three requirements listed below.


We get it, you are about to expose your health issues and concerns to a total stranger. It is not an easy thing to do. We suggest that you look for a company that offers a free initial consultation and can continue the conversation further. Asking the questions such as why you are passionate about helping people with medical treatments can be an eye-opener. A lot of us got involved in this field because we feel that Canadians should have options in healthcare. Medical care in Canada is free and can be excellent, but the delays in accessibility are a big issue. Most of us have experienced delays or care that was impersonal and inattentive. We faced the issues and we know how you feel – discouraged, frustrated and feeling down.


There have been a lot of press about medical tourists receiving subpar care abroad and coming home only to go back to their doctor with a complication or even worse, to an ER to address the poor outcomes of their surgery abroad. It is hard to say whether or not they were misled by their medical travel agent or their medical travel agent didn’t do their homework. We advise that you call around, google search and reach out to as many people as you know to get some background.

Another good indicator of honesty is price transparency. Are you paying one lump sum and the payment goes to your medical facilitator? If the answer is yes, then you really do not know how much you are paying for your surgery and how much you are paying to your medical facilitator. If your medical travel agent is not disclosing their fees, be cautious.


We are not talking about fancy accreditations here. Since medical tourism is a relatively young and unregulated profession, it will be hard to say which accreditation to trust. Medical Travel Association in the USA delivers a course during their congress and online. It is a good start.

However, if you can ask to talk to others about their experiences that may provide you with even more information about the facilitator. Sometimes it is a challenge to find a client that is willing to speak about their past experiences due to privacy. However, most will have at least one or two references that they can provide for you.

Trying to find a reputable medical facilitator will take some effort on your part. However, once it is done, they can do a lot of time and money saving for you and your health. If you would like to find out more, please give us a call. Your first hour of consultation is always free. Toll-free 1 877 344 3544 or email


Medical Travel Complications Insurance

When traveling out of the country you need to ensure that you and your family are protected in an emergency. Most Canadians have or purchase travel insurance. It covers them for emergency medical situations and trip interruption. So, what is medical travel complications insurance and how it is different from travel insurance? Although travel insurance and medical travel complications insurance may sound similar, those two insurance products are very different. They differ in who uses them, why and what is covered. Here is a little bit of info about both.

Standard Travel, Trip Interruption and Out of Country Medical Travel Insurance Policies

This type of insurance protects travelers for emergency medical issues, such as hospital, medical and paramedical, trip cancellation or interruption, lost or delayed luggage, and accident coverage, such as death or losing a limb. It is widely available and easy to obtain in most cases. Many companies in Canada and the USA offer policies to cover travelers outside of the country, travelers coming to the country and international students.

The main purpose of this insurance is to protect yourself and your family in case something unexpected comes up. Some of the companies also offer additional coverage services in case of a political unrest or natural disaster in the travel destination country. If you have a stable pre-existing condition you may also purchase coverage for an unexpected flare-up of the disease. Otherwise, it is extremely hard to find medical coverage for a disease that is not under control.

If you are traveling to receive medical treatment in another country, this insurance will not cover anything related to complications from your procedure.

Medical Travel and Complications Insurance

You will want to protect yourself in case something goes wrong when you travel outside of your home country for a surgery or medical treatment. All surgeries carry risks and you first should discuss those with your surgeon. Ask them how many cases they had that resulted in a complication or re-admission and why that occurred. It will give you a better idea of how to handle risk for your own surgery.

Even low-risk surgeries are not 100% risk-free. Usually, it is the client receiving treatment who is also responsible for all costs if a complication is to occur. Those costs can be high. Getting a medical complication insurance will provide you with a piece of mind and cost protection. All extra medical expense resulting from a complication will be covered.

It is an added bonus that the companies issuing medical complication insurance are experienced in their field. The will only ensure procedures at a reputable hospital and with a skilled surgeon. We have all heard of horror stories of people receiving bad care while abroad. Your facility will be double vetted – by your medical facilitator and your medical travel complication insurance company.

If you plan to have a surgery outside your home country, give Health Vantis a call and we can help you with obtaining a medical travel and complication insurance. Toll-free 1 877 344 3544 or email

Is It Safe to Have Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico?

We hear questions about medical services in Mexico quite often. How much is it for a gastric sleeve or plastic surgery in Tijuana? Is it safe? Well, the truth is that the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Bad Medical Outcomes for Surgery Done in Mexico In the News

In the past months, we came across several stories in the news reporting bad outcomes for weight loss surgical procedures done in Tijuana, Mexico. Aside from the benefit of weight loss, the main attraction of those surgeries is their very low prices. Some agents offer prices as low as USD $3599 for a gastric sleeve surgery on their website. This story talks about a lawsuit filed against three doctors in Mexico who performed surgeries that ended badly. Yet the agent that sent the clients to them continues to advertise the same doctor. From this article, we learned the doctor denies any wrongdoings citing that those complaining were bribed.

Safe Weight Loss Surgery

All surgeries carry a risk. Complications in weight loss surgeries have been reported many times and in many countries. Checking and confirming your facility and surgeon credentials and reviews is an absolute must. When we talk to our clients about bariatric surgery we are confident that doctors and facilities we will present them with are accredited by the US or Canadian accreditation body. The surgeons are board certified for bariatric surgery in Canada and the United States. That’s the first and very important step.

In Mexico, The Mexican Council for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Diseases is the official organization to certify a surgeon in bariatrics. If your surgeon is not listed here, he or she is not certified to perform a bariatric surgery.

Continuity of Care

There is usually a specific recovery protocol to any weight loss surgery. A registered dietitian should be on staff to help.  You can eat only specific foods for the first couple of weeks and will be learning how to eat healthy food in moderation. You will need to follow through with this. Reputable surgical weight loss centers usually offer a program to follow. Some have remote patient monitoring to ensure the enduring success of the surgery.

Price matters

Many people that go abroad for a surgery cite that it is not affordable at home. We think differently. If you spend some time researching your home facilities and compare the price, what it includes and the quality of care you will quickly realize that the difference is not worth the risk of going to an unfamiliar culture and place. As an example, at a private facility in Canada, the total price for Laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy performed by a board-certified surgeon has a price of CAD $13,350. It includes 1 day of hospital admission.

Should you stay or should you go?

We are hesitant to give out definite yes or no to our initial question for a number of reasons. One is that our first and foremost commitment to our clients is their safety and a high-quality doctor.  Another is that it is hard to confirm those outside of USA and Canada.  It is because the medical systems are different, training of doctors differs at times, and language and cultural barriers exist to provide full insight. And third is that without those verifications we would not like to pass misleading information or pass judgments on the entire system and all doctors that do surgeries in Mexico.

Your health decisions should come from the knowledge of risks and benefits, feelings of trust and confidence in the doctor. Medical facilitators and medical travel agents should be able to help establish it and maintain contact at all times until you come back home. Health Vantis delivers such white glove service. Give us a try and reach out at toll-free 877 344 3544 or by email

Combine Surgery With Travel

Combine Surgery With Travel

In today’s world, time is money and we all seem to be limited or stretched for both.  Taking care of your health seems to be put on the back burner when we are in this position in life. Is that really the best thing to do considering we need our health to be good at things?  How about planning your vacation smartly?  You need to have a procedure done but have put it off because of time or money.  Why not consider these 3 options for ‘killing 2 birds with 1 stone’ and combine surgery with travel?

If you are like me and had major surgery(s), you would probably agree the first few days you will want nothing but sleep and rest.  Minor procedures such as plastic surgery or dental work may not be as limiting, however, something like an orthopedic surgery will not allow for you to be taking long walks on the beach.  In fact, that would not be a good idea to be walking on sand after such surgery due to the unevenness which could result in another injury.  You can still combine travel with surgery, or at the least, make the best use of your time.

Combine Leisure Travel with Medical Travel

Summer is upon us and one of the best things about it is that you get to vacation! Are you limited on how many vacation days you are allowed for the year?  Have you ever thought about combining your surgery or procedure with your trip?  You may not get to enjoy the entire trip but you could go a couple days early to get in some of the sites.

Combine Your ‘Snowbird’ Vacation with Medical Travel

Canadians flock south every year to escape the cold and long winters.  Many have condos or second homes they own with Arizona, Florida and Texas as their destination.  They will spend months basking in the sun wearing sandals and shorts while their friends and family back home are bundled up in winter gear.  

This is an ample time to have your surgery, treatment or diagnostic test, especially if the surgery is a major one.   Having extended access to the surgeon or doctor without adding another flight will help keep your risk down. This also gives the doctor a better eye on monitoring you.  Most doctors are going to give post op care that’s included in their pricing. This helps keep the continuity of care if you are able to do all of your recovery in one place.  

Combine Your Business Trip with Medical Travel

Many Canadians travel to the US for business frequently.   This may or may not even require any additional vacation time depending on what you need to have done.  Diagnostic tests can easily be done in a matter of hours.  And if your company is footing the travel part of the trip, definitely coordinate what you need to have done.  If it’s a minor surgery, you may be able to fly within a day or two.

Popular Spots

Top destinations Canadians travel to in the USA during the summer are: Washington DC, Boston, Orlando or other historic destinations.  Snowbirds prefer Arizona, Florida and Texas.  Business travel includes Chicago, New York or Boston.   It just so happens Health Vantis has facilities in or near all of the destinations. If you need a surgery, contact Health Vantis to help you coordinate one of these trips for you.   


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Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques

Newer Orthopedic Surgical Techniques Are Bringing Greater Results To Patients

Orthopedic procedures are skyrocketing in Canada due to the aging Baby Boomer population. High on the list are hip and knee replacements. These are considered major surgeries and in years past, required overnight stays in the hospital with a long recovery period. Newer orthopedic surgical techniques and procedures are now available to make the surgery out-patient vs inpatient with a less invasive approach. This has the patient up and moving within hours of the surgery and a much quicker recovery. 

Posterior Approach 

In years past, these surgeries were done posteriorly, which entered through the back side of the knee or hip. This required a large incision, cutting through the muscle and other soft tissues. In the case of a hip, a wide piece of fibrous soft tissue at the top of the outer thigh was cut and the large gluteus maximus muscle that attaches to it. The surgeon would cut the external muscles that connect the top of the femur to the pelvis. These are the muscles that provide hip stability preventing dislocation out of the back of the hip socket. The muscles are repaired and reattached at the end of the surgery. This approach provides a good view of what they are doing to the surgeon, thus the preferred approach for most. 

Having a posterior approach would require at least 2-3 days stay in a hospital and then 2-3 weeks of physical therapy in a rehab hospital. There is a much longer process for healing and mobility with this approach. 

Anterior Approach 

The Anterior approaches is preformed through the front of the hip or knee.  This technique requires a very skilled doctor. Not all physicians are trained to do this approach, furthermore, there are not many surgeons in Canada offering it at this time. While both techniques provide you with the same overall outcome, there are greater benefits to doing the replacement(s) anteriorly. Some of those are: 

.–  Lower rates of infection

–Sparing the muscles and tendons, allowing the patient to move the joint duringrecovery

–  Less pain

–  Faster recover time

–  Improved mobility

–  Reduced scarring

–  Improved stability

–  Reduced risk for dislocation after surgery

–  No overnight hospital stay

 Patients who have undergone direct anterior procedures have reported post operative pain and discomfort markedly less than traditional approaches. Recovery is expedited and they are able to resume normal actives sooner.

Microdiscectomy For The Spine 

Microdiscectomy for the spine is the most common minimally invasive spine surgery procedures being done. Like traditional posterior hip and knee approach, traditional discectomies are done with a 6-8” incision that requires cutting through the back muscles. This technique has significant muscle damage with a slow, painful recovery. 

Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope

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 Microdiscectomy is preformed with advanced technology that uses an endoscope. This only requires a tiny incision the size of a pin and is able to burrow through the muscles as opposed to cutting through them. The endoscope is removed and the heart muscle closes naturally. Per Chiropractor and rehab therapist Dr. Amy Cannutta, this allows for less down time, greater results, less pain and practically no infection rate. Her experience has also seen people’s recovery period much easier and quicker than traditional discectomy. 

Which Surgical Technique Is Right For You? 

Just like any surgery, only your doctor will know what is the right approach for your situation. Not everyone is a candidate for Microdiscectomy or an Anterior Approach for hip or knee replacement. If you are ever in doubt or would like to explore an alternate approach, solicit a second opinion. Health Vantis can help you with this. Contact us today at or 877-344-3544 as we have facilities that offer these techniques and are able to provide you with a second opinion. 

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