End Of the Year – Top 5 Things To Do Right Now!

It is hard to believe, but the end of the 2018 year is just a month away. Thinking about what to do before its over? Here are our top 5 suggestions to make you a happier and, therefore, healthier person!

Check your spending on supplemental health insurance and health spending account

There may be some physiotherapist, chiropractor or massage therapist money left. Make an appointment to tend to your sore muscles or unaligned bones. Another good one to check is your vision program. Yearly eye exams and a pair of glasses or contacts are usually covered to a certain amount.

Plan a trip!

According to this study planning and anticipating a trip actually bring your happiness levels up. We live in a climate where winters are real, and sometimes just thinking about a nice beach and picturing yourself getting some warm sun gives us the strength to deal with snowstorms and freezing temperatures.

Make time to connect with those that have supported you and made you feel special

Even though we all get so busy before and during the holidays, a morning coffee or a special phone call matter to those that care about you. If you moved around a lot on your life, use Skype to connect and see your friends faces and smiles! It will keep both of you engaged and looking forward to the future – something we sometimes forget to think about when we are facing everyday routines. After all the holiday hustle and bustle is gone you will have something real to lean n – friends and family, your true fans!

Volunteer

Giving up your time for a bigger cause can be very rewarding. You can step outside your usual routine, meet new people and be part of a new organization or simply help your child’s school serve pizza or make classroom materials. Whatever the cause is, stay committed, even if it is an hour a month. Your valuable time contribution can change a person’s life for the better– how great is that?

Celebrate you

Feeling that you do not have time for yourself? Forgot when you were able to relax and stay in bed for an extra hour or took a nice mid-afternoon nap? Do it! Schedule the time in your calendar and treat yourself to the luxury of sleep, pampering or whatever else you have been thinking of these past 6 months. In order to do this successfully a little planning is needed. Your to do list needs to be taken care of and the rest is able to wait till you come out of your You-zone without feeling guilty of taking some time to yourself.

 

The Number of Joint Replacement Surgeries Is on the Rise – What Does It Mean to You?

In the last 15 years, Canada’s population grew by about 5 million people – from a little bit over 30 mil people in 2001 to a bit over 35 mil people in 2016. With the median age of Canadians now at 40.6, the growing age brackets are 45 to 64 and 65 and older, and yes, 90 and older. Great news – we are now living longer!

However, when we get older, health issues may start to appear. Most of us are familiar with arthritis and how debilitating it can be. So far, the only sure way to get rid of it is to have a joint replacement.

If we look at the numbers of joint replacement surgeries, those have increased as well – as probably expected. According to Canadian Institute of Health Information, the total number of hip replacement increased by 17.8% from 2012 to 2017 and the total number of knee replacement went up by 15.5% in the same five year period.

Medical Advances

The good news is that medical advances in joint replacement allow for minimum downtime nowadays. Although not yet widely available in all Canada, same day hip and knee replacements offer benefits. They minimize recovery time and pain and get you back to normal faster. Robotics aid in performing many surgeries nowadays. They allow for a more precise placement of the implant that leads to faster recovery and less room for surgical error, hence complications.

Impact on the Employers

If your employees are over 45 you will probably feel the impact of arthritis and its painful progression on your bottom line. Employees performance and productivity can be affected and the absenteeism may go up. What can you do to prepare?

Employers can help their employees get the minimally invasive joint replacement by offering Health Spending Accounts or covering a percentage of the surgery, should an employee choose to have it done privately, in Canada or the US.

Employers can also implement strategies that focus on safety, ergonomics, and wellness. These programs will contribute to preserving joint health for employees of all ages. A supplemental health insurance that covers physiotherapy will help a person pay for the expenses associated with rehab

Individual Impact

You are probably wondering if you will be waiting longer for a joint replacement surgery. It is not unreasonable to think so. The number of surgeries is going up, and the aging population is growing. Some provinces are investing in hiring more orthopedic surgeons to keep the wait times down.

One way to address the wait list issue is to obtain it privately. It is an investment in yourself and will get you moving and healthy faster.

As for the individual responsibility staying within healthy weight can prevent joint replacement. We wrote another blog about the relationship of weight and joint replacement. If surgery is your only option, be prepared to go through rehab. Local support groups are sometimes a good way to socialize with others who had the same surgery.

If you are interested in learning about private minimally invasive joint replacement surgery, Health Vantis can help. Reach out to us at toll-free 877 344 3544.

World Mental Health Day Oct 10, 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Worldwide statistics say that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experience mental health issues.  In Canada, 1 out of 5 Canadians experience mental health challenges.  One in 5 of those are children, 1 in 10 will have chronic issues, however, only 1 in 3 will actually seek out treatment.

Mental health problems make up 70% of disability costs in the workplace.  According to the Mental Health Commission, this can cost the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion dollars. Many companies do not provide access to mental health services and create an unapproachable environment to discuss mental health.  This can lead to absenteeism, lack of productivity and high costs for the employer.

Mental health has been a squeaky wheel within the health care system in Canada for a long time.  Under the current guidelines for mental health, many services do not meet the eligibility requirement of what is deemed ‘medically necessary’ creating a gap.  Most psychological services must be paid for out of pocket by the patient, leaving something critical for well-being untreated.    When the burden of cost is left up to the individual, it’s easy to see why their mental health gets shoved aside.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a vow to provide more support with regards to de-stigmatization and increased public spending for mental health but this will be a long and slow process.

How To Have Access To Affordable Treatment

  • Have your General Practitioner treat you or ask them to refer you to a Psychiatrist.  This should be covered by your Provincial Health Care.
  • Ask your employer if there is an employee assistance program. Find out if there are counseling services available to you or if they cover additional costs included with your benefits.
  • Look for mental health organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and Schizophrenia Society of Ontario.  Services like this can direct people to the right place for treatment.
  • Try the Beacon app.

For Children

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national helpline for young people between the ages of 5 and 20. It offers:

  • 24-Hour confidential and anonymous support.
  • Professional counsellors and counseling options.
  • Online resources that provide tips and advice on the challenges that young people face.

Call 1-800-668-6868 to speak with Kids Help Phone. You can download the Always There app.

This information is provided by the Government of Canada.

If you are experiencing feelings of hurting yourself, call 911 or contact one of the crisis centers that are available 24/7.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

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.

Trust

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.

Honesty

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.

Credibility

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 info@healthvantis.com

 

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.   

 

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com

5 BS facts about medical tourism that people think are true

Medical travel can be rewarding and complicated at the same time. On one hand, you can get treated and feel better faster, on the other, you have to manage all the logistics and risks. Below are the untrue medical tourism facts and why they are such. You can make an informed decision about your health.

I have to fly across the globe to get a surgery

This one is really your choice. You can fly across the globe – let’s say from Canada to India if that is what you find to be the best possible care at the best possible price for you. However, we advise doing a thorough research of the procedure.  While it is true that some countries far away excel at a certain surgery, you will most likely find a similar, if not lower price within 4h flight from you. In fact, many Canadians can drive to a facility to receive private health care. Hiring a medical facilitator will pay off if you chose an agency with transparent pricing policy to do the job for you.

My doctor will be mad at me for going someplace else

According to our experience, it is highly unlikely. Most, if not all, Canadian doctors are aware of the waitlist situation and are sympathetic. In fact, Canadian physicians are encouraged to take steps to minimize the risks that medical tourism may present. The guidelines to follow from Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) are as follows:

  • Physicians should respect patients’ autonomy in seeking out-of-country procedures and other decisions regarding their healthcare.
  • Where appropriate, physicians should try to address to the best of their ability and knowledge questions from patients who are considering care abroad. They can also help patients minimize health risks associated with travel to certain countries.
  • Doctors should keep the lines of communication with patients open. For example, you could ask them to provide information about the medical treatment abroad, including their foreign medical record, and ensure the transfer of records is complete.
  • Be mindful of the patient’s need for follow-up care upon returning to Canada, including emergent care. Physicians should consider the urgency of the treatment required and their ability to provide information and follow-up care to the best of their ability and within the limits of their clinical knowledge.

 

I will not get the same quality of care as I can at home

This could not be further from the truth. Many surgeons and doctors working abroad were trained in the U.S., and have returned to their home countries to provide care to both local populations and medical tourists. However, depending on where you are going, you may have to do more research.

The USA and Canada follow very similar medical school and training requirements.  They are in fact the only two countries where an MD from USA and Canada can establish practices in either country without undergoing a re-certification. It is a unique arrangement and speaks highly of both countries’ medical education.

If you venture beyond those two countries, you will have to do a bit more research. Ensure that you check the doctor’s education and certifications as well as hospital accreditations. We wrote a blog on how to select your medical doctor and facility and encourage you to read it to get a better understanding of what is involved.

 

I have no legal recourse if something goes wrong

Any civilized country will have a law when it comes to pursuing legal action against a medical facility or doctor if something goes wrong. You are probably only familiar with the law in your country. The medical malpractice law in a country states who makes the decision, how you will be compensated and who will be paying the legal costs. A couple of things to mention:

  • Litigation costs in the US are twice those in other countries. Half of US payments go to legal costs rather than compensating patients
  • Other than the US, few other countries allow cases to be decided by jurors. Most use judges or administrative procedures to determine liability.
  • Canada and the United Kingdom impose caps on pain and suffering awards.
  • Most European countries prohibit contingency fees. The United States uses contingency fees.
  • Canada, Europe and Australia all have loser-pays provisions in their medical malpractice systems. The US does not.
  • Sweden’s average award for 2004: $22,000. US median award for 2005: $400,000 with 21% of awards being more than $1 million.
  • Internists in Canada pay between $1800 and $3200 per year for malpractice insurance. Internists in Cook County and Madison County, Illinois pay more than $41,000 per year.

The discussion of various countries malpractice laws is beyond the scope of this short blog. However, we can say that there are resources available to you if you have the time and desire to learn more.

My personal medical information is not safe

Medical facilities must follow a medical and personal information law in their country.  The nations of the Western world have similar perspectives toward privacy rights. In the US, that is HIPAA, and it is a very strict law when it comes to your records. European Union’s (EU’s) Directive on Data Protection and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) regulate patient records and other sensitive information. If you are unsure about the privacy laws in the country of your intended travel, ask your medical facilitator.

If you are curious about traveling abroad for a procedure or surgery reach out to us. We offer a complimentary 1h consultation. Toll free 1877 344 3544 or info@healthvantis.com

Turning 50? Read This!

Who said 50 is old? Probably some 18-year-old who has little idea of how fulfilling, peaceful and wonderful life can be after all the turmoil of younger age is over.  Below are some points to ponder if you have been thinking about your big birthday coming up. Turning 50 can be fun!

Life expectancy rise in Canada

In Canada, life expectancy has moved up by 24.6 years in 1921 to 81.7 years in 2011. Most of this move occurred before 1951 and is due to reduced death rates of ages-0-4 (the improvements in infant care and vaccinations). However, the second group that gained the most was ages 5-74 and is due to reductions in deaths from circulatory system diseases, such as heart disease.  If we look at the life expectancy in 1980 it was 75.4 years and in 2013 it was 81.9 years.  That is 5 years more to see the sunrise and hang out with the grandkids.

Switching Jobs and Turning 50?

Yes, it is happening! According to a University of Michigan Study “about 40% of Americans who were still working when they turned 62 had moved to a new occupation sometime after age 55. There are lower earnings associated with the switch.  Yet according to the researchers it “may reflect strategic decisions on the part of workers who may be willing to trade earnings for work hours flexibility or part-time work.” In other words, it may be the “work less and enjoy life more” attitude that drives people over 50 to have a real work-life balance!

In Canada, a 2012 TD Economics Observation reports that since the jobs recovery began in mid-2009, individuals aged 60 and over have accounted for about one-third of all net new job gains — a striking figure considering they represented just 8% of the workforce.

In fact, the TD study shows that this trend applies not only to people in the 60-65 age range but also to those over 70. Employment for these individuals has surged by 37% in the same period.

Starting your own business?

Many boomers are also leveraging their skills and experience to start their own businesses. A 2012 CIBC study found that individuals 50+ made up the fastest growing age group for start-ups in Canada, accounting for approximately 30% of the total number of start-ups in the country. Since 1990, the rate of entrepreneurs 50+ more than doubled, and the trend continues to rise.

For the USA, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation reports that people ages 55 to 64 now represent 29% of America’s entrepreneurs.

Shifting attitudes towards age

Many people, especially women, are changing their attitude towards aging. What was considered middle age 20 years ago no longer feels right.  Women have children at and after age 40, and the idea of keeping youthful attitudes sticks. Women over 50 feel younger and often times share the same taste in clothes as teenagers. Tight jeans and converse sneakers are to name just a couple of multigenerational pieces. Julia Roberts was named the World’s Most Beautiful Woman in 2017 by People’s magazine, 26 years after she first made the list.

Gina Pell coined a term “perennial”. She defined it as “ever-blooming, curious people of ALL ages who know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology and have friends of all ages. Perennials have always understood that age is not a limiting factor.” We all have friends that are perennials. They are energetic, always ready to lend a hand and are optimistic and enthusiastic, without fear to voice their opinions. In other words, 30, 40, 50 or 65 – it is the attitude and curiosity that make the difference. Long gone are the days of river cruises and Rotary clubs. Women over 40 today take on tasks that are engaging, challenging and exciting, much like they did when they were in their 20-ies, but with a lot more experience and relationships to lean on.

How do you view yourself in years? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.

 

 

How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

How to Choose the Best Hospital For Your Surgery

If your doctor determined that a surgery is necessary for you to get better, you are probably wondering where to have it done. With many options in medical travel care around the globe, how do you choose? In this blog, we will talk about some points to consider when searching for the best hospital to have a procedure done.

Like most people, you are probably looking to for a facility that has the best outcomes for the type of surgery you are seeking, offers quality care before, during and after the procedure and has comfortable amenities for recovery. We offer you some insights into what to look for and how to obtain the information needed.

Accreditations and Awards

First and foremost, ensure that a hospital of your choice is a reputable one. There are a few companies that offer hospital accreditations. The most known one is Joint Commission International (JCI), which is considered a gold standard in global healthcare. Other organizations such as Accreditation Canada and Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) provide for a way to tell that the facility has met the accredited body health care standards. Many good hospitals are also winners of various awards in excellent care. All this information can be found on the hospital’s website. Ensure you know what the accreditation and award organizations check and rate.

Important hospital statistics

The next step would be to look at a hospital infection, re-admission and mortality rates and compare it to a state, province or country average. This should also be available on the hospitals’ website. Some hospitals make it a point to tell their patients what they are doing about lowering those rates, which is an indicator of being proactive and caring about the outcomes.  Also, check with the states’ or provinces’ department of health. Many of them now require monitoring for serious reportable events or incidents (SRE/SRI) – preventable, adverse events that are unambiguous, and largely, if not entirely preventable, such as operating on a wrong body part, performing a wrong surgery and so on.

When researching a hospital, look for a number of surgeries performed a year for your particular type of surgery. It takes practice to become an expert and there is proficiency in numbers.   Ask the hospital if they have a floor for recovery and an operating room just for your type of surgery.  Nurse to patient ratio is also used to assess the quality and ease of access to pre- and post-surgery care.

Brand names vs smaller facilities

Famous names and large hospitals are not always the best for your type of procedure.  Smaller regional hospitals can do a better job at a better price. Smaller cities can be easier to access with less traffic, more parking and larger hospital rooms.  Many smaller independent surgical facilities employ surgeons that also operate at large brand-name hospitals.

Finding out the pros and cons of the different facilities can be time-consuming and confusing.  Health Vantis can do all the legwork for you and present you with 2-3 options so that you can focus on getting better.  Contact us for your free 1-hour consultation to learn more.

Health Vantis

www.healthvantis.ca

877-344-3544

info@healthvantis.com