Health Tourism in Turkey & Patient Rights

Health Tourism in Turkey & Patient RightsHealth Tourism in Turkey

If you consider traveling from your homeland to another country for treatment purposes, then you are a potential health tourist .

It is a rising trend in the world. The health tourism concept includes all types of tourisms which mainly provide healthy living. It’s analyzed in three parts:

Medical Tourism (Such as hospital treatments and surgeries) Thermal Tourism (Recreation and rehabilitation services at thermal facilities) Tourism for Elderly and Disabled Care (Long term treatments including social activities)

So, why people need to receive treatments outside their own countries? Let’s talk about the advantages of being abroad for medical purposes:

A vacation before or after your treatment . Higher quality medical service equipped with latest technology. Affordable costs. Secrecy demands. Thermal facilities. Different environments. Better opportunities.

Amazing Facts That You Should Know

Turkey has more JCI accredited health care facilities than any nation outside the U. S. Especially in Istanbul and Ankara, the private, public and university hospitals are equipped with the latest technology. Healthcare costs are affordable even when compared to those in Asia. Turkey has plenty of Western-trained doctors who are fluent in English. The Turkish government enforces strict quality standards in every region of medical technology, facilities and personnel. All the private, public and university hospitals are inspected twice a year. All procedures and coordination concerning health tourism is by law under the responsibility of the Ministry of Health . Services provided in nearly all branches: Oncological treatments, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, brain surgery, pediatric surgery, aesthetic surgery, ophthalmic, orthodontology, cyber knife, robotic surgery, MR imagings, bone marrow and organ transplantations. In particular, VAVAMED is a company responsible to arrange and prepare all forms of surgeries and procedures .

Patient Rights

The right of respect the patient’s privacy. He/she expects that while sharing his personal information with VAVAMED company, that such information is kept confidential and is not given to anybody without his permission.

Considerate, courteous and respectful care from all the company staff. Regardless race, sex, religion, ethnic background, education, social class, physical or mental handicap or economic status, customer has right to receive the best possible medical care. Any questions from the patient side have to be listened to and should receive proper response with due respect to his cultural and educational background into account. The right to receive all the information necessary even the complex to understand medical situation. The right to informed consent and full discussion of risks and benefits prior to any invasive procedure, except in an emergency. The patient must be informed with any alternatives to the proposed procedure. The right to examine and receive a full explanation of any charges made by the company and in spite of the source of payment. The patient has the right to obtain any assistance in term of language interpretation. If necessary an appropriate transfer, even if the patient can’t pay or do not have medical insurance or not entitled to Medicare or Medicaid. The right to say “No” to treatment and ask for second opinion . The right to reject discussion, examinations and procedures to the extent permitted by law and to be informed of the health and legal consequences of this rejection. The right of access the patient’s personal medical records. The right to expect reasonable continuity of care within the scope of services and the company staff. The right of confidentiality of the patient’s personal medical records which provided by the law. The right to respect all civil rights and religious opinions of the patient . The right to present complaints about lack in care or services to the company’s administration or management. Feedbacks are always welcome. The right to know the names, professions and titles of the facility staff to whom the patient speaks and from who the information or services are received.

health tourism in Turkey

This is an article that was in yesterdays ”Turkish Daily News” which i thought might be of interest.

Turks aim high in medical tourism

Turks have eye on European patients in medical tourism

The number of people who have been sick and running from one country to the other to get well sooner than later is in the millions today. Some are seeking to receive treatment in a shorter time in Canada, some are trying to get doctor appointments easier in Britain and some are dreaming about less-expensive treatment bills in the United States, so millions every year travel to hospitals in different countries.

Many Turkish doctors have an excellent worldwide reputation. Paradoxically, Turkey is not well known in the medical tourism sector. So, Turkey is making a move to capture a greater share of the medical tourism sector in Europe and has its eye on providing patients services that are covered by health insurance plans. Hungary is the current leader in the sector.

Dьnya Gцz Hastanesi (World Eye Hospital) is close to signing deals with insurance companies in the Netherlands and Austria. As Dentistanbul and Anadolu Sağlık Merkezi (Anadolu Health Center) are preparing to renew their agreements, Acıbadem plays its insurance trump with nine international contracts. The Dutch Agis Health Insurance company has opened a branch in Turkey recently and directed over 150 patients to hospitals and clinics in Turkey.

Developing countries market

Since early 2000, Cuba, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, Greece, Lithuania, Malaysia and Thailand have begun developing their economies through health tourism, and lately Belgium, Poland and Singapore have tagged along. Now, with a few attempts in the private health sector, Turkey has aspirations to grab a share of this cake. Like the others, the primary target for Turkey is the European patient. Its proximity to Europe and the large Turkish immigrant population in Europe is adding to the likelihood of a preference for Turkey as a destination for healthcare.

Healthcare in Turkey is relatively inexpensive for procedures that insurance usually doesn’t cover. Eye and dental care promises good income and should encourage investors to open clinics in those specific fields. However, the number of people coming to Turkey for health care is dropping. Along with offering inexpensive care in certain fields including eye and dental care, the objective is to attract patients seeking care that is covered by health insurance. In the process, insurance companies play the lead role. Patients from Europe prefer the cheapest countries for eye and dental treatments, which are often not covered by health insurance. But for different types of health care, they go to countries where the care they will receive is covered by their health insurances policies. For Turkey, agreements between private insurance companies and hospitals are viewed as the only way to pull European patients, who can receive health care in any country within the boundaries of European Union.

Number of hospitals to double

Dьnya Gцz Hospital, pioneering health tourism initiatives in Turkey, signed a deal with Agis, the largest insurance company in the Netherlands, and with Wiener Stadische Verschierung, the second largest insurance company in Europe. The hospital continues to have talks with many other insurance firms. Dьnya Gцz treated 20,000 foreign patients in 2006. Following these freshly signed agreements, the hospital expects 50 percent more patients in the first year of the agreements and a doubling of the 2006 figure in 2008. The hospital hopes to draw more European patients for treatments other than vision correction surgery.

Dьnya Gцz Hospital Group Business Development Director Selin Yıldırım Peker said, “We want to focus on other eye operations such as cataract surgery,” since no insurance company in Turkey or anywhere in the world covers laser surgery for vision correction. Foreign insurance companies cover all eye-related operations except laser surgery, according to Peker, which is the reason behind their motivation to make deals with insurance companies.

Impact of foreign insurance

Acıbadem Health Group is leading the charge to increase medical tourism in Turkey. It has signed agreements with nine international insurance companies. Business with AGIS Group, BUPA International, HTH Worldwide, Danish International Health Insurance (IHI), International SOS Assistance UK LTD, J. Van Breda & C International, Tricare Europe, British PPP Healthcare and Allianz Worldwide brings Acıbadem patients from abroad. These patients make up 5 percent of Acıbadem’s total patients serviced.

A total of 500 patients from Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Germany, the Netherlands and Middle Eastern countries visit Anadolu Sağlık Merkezi (Anadolu Health Center) every month and 30 percent of those patients have health insurance coverage. The center added a hotel to its campus to improve its medical tourism services and that initiative brought insurance companies AGIS, CZ/OZ and French AGF Allianz on board as partners.

European Turks prefer motherland

Since private health care has been accelerated during the 1990s, medical tourism has been a focus for the health care industry in Turkey. Partnerships with international insurance companies date back to 2002. The Dutch Agis insurance company was the first to sign a deal in Turkey. They now work together with 89 hospitals, 40 polyclinics and 49 dialyses centers from Adana to Trabzon. Until 2006 Agis only covered its customers travel expenses to Turkey, but the company has recently expanded its coverage. Duygu Helvacı of Agis-Turkey explains that 1.2 million patients, 200,000 of which are of Turkish-origin, prefer Turkey more and more for healthcare. European Turks especially are demanding to be treated in their home country. Agis provides similar services for Moroccans living in the Netherlands who prefer to go to Morocco for treatment.

First medical tourism association on the way

A planned medical tourism association is an important step toward the accomplishment of Turkey’s goals in the sector. Dьnya Gцz is leading the way for the establishment of the foundation to be called the International Health Services Association. Dьnya Gцz Hospital Business Development Director Selin Yıldırım Peker summarized the objective of the association when she said, “As the first to begin working in the medical-health tourism field in eye treatment, we are trying to overcome many challenges by ourselves. We are trying to showcase the high quality of health care in Turkey to foreigners. If we gather under one roof and establish a firm control mechanism, everyone involved in medical tourism will be able to show a united front in promoting our cause and prevent mistakes that could hurt


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