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Travel Arrangement

If you have made a decision that you need to go for health check-up, treatment or recovery abroad, you may organize your trip yourself or avail of the services of medical tourism facilitators. Each of these options has its strong and weak points.

If you have decided to do everything yourself, you will have to do a substantial background research about every point: in what country it will take place, what medical or recovery establishment is most suitable for you, how you can contact it, how you can submit documents and conform the list of services and their pricing, etc. If there is a foreign patient support service in the medical or recovery establishment you have chosen, you will get help with not only accommodation, but even with the transfer and an invitation for receiving a visa. These and other organizational and accommodation services are provided directly by the major clinics of Western Europe, the USA, Israel, Singapore, Turkey, Costa Rica, and some other countries. As an additional draw it necessary to mention the fact that managers of clinics speak several languages. You yourself may only need to purchase tickets, book a hotel (if there is none by the clinic), preparation of visa documents, insurance for the trip (it does not cover scheduled treatment). However, you will have to cope with all the overlaps and hardships by yourself.   

If you have no desire or time to organize a trip, you will need an intermediary agent. At present, one may find hundreds of medical tourism medical tourism facilitators, especially in the Internet. On the one hand, this is positive, because strong competition improves service delivery. But unfortunately, this also means making choices. Mistake is impermissible – health is at stake, and sometimes even life. Not to mention servicing and responsibility.

Professional medical tourism facilitators orient excellently in the global market of medical services, being able therefore to give consultations on the issues that interest you, select what you require, provide all the needed communications, help with document preparation, resolve all transportation issues. And besides, they bear responsibility for this (if they have officially documented legal relationships with you and signed the contract).

Services most frequently offered by medical and recovery tourism facilitators

There is no doubt that each of the facilitators strives to attract potential patients-tourists with the widest range of services possible. But such list of services is not limitless. More often it includes: 

  • selection of medical and recovery establishments, and possibly particular specialists for diagnostics, treatment or recovery abroad according to the client’s diagnosis and individual preferences
  • negotiations with foreign medical or recovery establishments regarding the possibilities of service provision to a client
  • reservation of the place and date of hospitalization (accommodation) or out-patient observation of a potential patient
  • drawing up and provision of the invitation for treatment/recovery  (if this is required, in particular, for getting a visa)
  • performance of visa support
  • ordering air- or other tickets
  • booking a hotel for accompanying persons and/or the patient (in case of out-patient treatment)
  • transportation services during the period of the potential patient’s stay abroad, including transfer at arrival and departure
  • translation (and translation legalization services at need) of the patient’s medical documents into a foreign language
  • escort interpreter service for a patient to facilitate contact with medical staff abroad
  • arrangement of patient’s transportation with special transport
  • organization of additional programme (leisure, excursions, shopping)
  • management of the entire programme by the provider’s employee(s)

What you need to pay attention to when choosing a medical tourism facilitator

Choosing a company via Internet is not a trifle task, because the virtual reality is very delusive. It is clear that the first impression is created by the design, informative and functional characteristics of the website. Well-established reputable companies have impressive websites, but do not forget about mimicry. Nowadays, you may encounter with fakes anywhere. Pay attention to the owner of the website (the so called “copyright” at the bottom of the web-page).  

Always check for the legality of the operator’s work; in most countries of the world only registered companies (legal entities) with proper licence (or other document of authorization issued by a state body) may deal with the organization of treatment and recovery abroad. Company name, address and telephone number must necessarily be specified, on the website in particular. Licence information must be in the same place (if it is obligatory for the country, where the facilitator performs its activities).

You need to find out, which directions of medical tourism the facilitator deals in, what is its specialization. This is true both for medical and recovery services, and for the countries and establishments providing those. An extensive number of information and photographs (video is even best) at the website speaks for tight business contacts of the operator with the establishments it represents. The information about the particular medical specialists and their achievements will also be helpful. In some cases, you may be immediately able to choose the specialist you wish to visit.

Make sure on the website that the facilitator itself provides all the services you need. The range of services may be very extensive, but you know best what you are looking for. Partner programmes or communication through the representatives may sometimes be unreliable. You have to verify clearly with whom you are finally going to enter legal relations.

A very good impression is created by a systematic flowchart of the company’s operations, an easy-to-understand payment system presented on the company website.

It is also desirable to familiarize with the feedback about the facilitator’s work, both on the website itself and on independent forums. However, read such feedback very attentively and evaluate critically the positive and negative ones.      

Further inquiries and clarifications of the information about the company and its services should be made over the phone: the first call during the working time must not disappoint you with an auto-reply. It is suspicious if you are asked to call back later or leave you contact details. Medical tourism facilitators  are yet not overloaded to the extent they should work in waiting mode. If they made a positive impression on the phone, it is time to go to the facilitator’s office and make everything clear on site.

During the meeting, do not hesitate to ask any questions that interest you, have a look at the licence (other authorization document if required), study attentively the contract and all the documents you are asked to sign.

Necessarily pay special attention to the contract. It should state the required terms explicitly in the body of the contract, especially the obligations and responsibility of the company organising your travel. Note in the contract what the company undertakes to do in particular, and what is not included in the list of its obligations. You’ll be better off paying for medical or recovery services directly to the medical (recovery) establishment, and not to the account of the facilitator.

Everything attractive and clear – you may start work, and if something concerns you in the contract, consult lawyers or search another company.

Tags: medical tourism, travel arrangement, medical tourism facilitators

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