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FAQs / Frequently Asked Questions
What is medical tourism?
Medical Tourism is also known as health tourism, medical travel, and even cross-border healthcare. It is a term used to describe the phenomenon of people traveling from their home country to another country to obtain medical, dental, or surgical care. Additional information: To date, there are no concrete figures on exactly how many Americans travel outside of the U.S. each year for medical tourism. Why? Because there is currently no authority capable of accurately measuring this phenomenon except through unofficial surveys. Some organizations, such as the Medical Tourism Association, point to a huge uptrend in its occurrence and some sources indicate the numbers to be from half a million – but upwards to 1.2 million – people a year seeking out cross-border care. Clients are to be advised that sources on this information vary greatly because no solid, reliable research yet exists on this subject.
Is medical tourism safe?
The single, most important question…
Yes, but… While all medical surgeries and dental procedures have associated risks, the Global Health Alliance was created with their primary focus being on reducing those risks to the lowest levels. Great amounts of time, energy, and monies have been spent to ensure we utilize only highly experienced, trained and certified doctors and hospitals and clinics. But ensuring the hospitals, clinics and their staff maintain the highest level of standards is only the beginning. The GHA focuses on the need for and use of special medical tourism insurance to offset even more risk. The GHA also works with each client extensively to make the entire process as transparent as possible, so there are no surprises, which provides an additional layer of protection. Our clients’ peace of mind is our focus through a unique blend of risk management, quality of service, education, and concierge services. Few, if any other medical facilitators, offer such a unique, high-quality service.
While other medical facilitators have a marketing focus on monetary savings, we at the GHA have an extensive focus on ensuring our clients get exactly what they want with the most limited exposure to risk: all at competitive pricing.
What procedures are available?
Through the hospitals and clinics available through the GHA nearly any procedure may be procured. This includes but is not limited to the following:
Medical checkups, diagnosis, or second/third professional opinions
Surgeries, be they cosmetic, corrective, reconstructive or for weight loss etc.
Infertility treatments (IVF)
Cancer treatment (Radiotherapy (TrueBeam), Chemotherapy etc.)
Dental prosthetics, implantology, oral surgery
Much, much more!
What are the savings?
The savings for using cross-border facilities range from between 30% to 80% less than the prices for the same thing in the U.S. depending on the procedure(s) or required treatments. While other sites promote “teaser” price advertisements, the GHA refrains from this practice, providing only reliable price quotes with detailed treatment plans. NO company may ethically offer a fixed price prior to the patient being physically seen by their tending cross-border physician, surgeon or dentist.
Here is a brief overview of how the GHA conducts its practice in lowering clients’ costs:
The client calls our Client Service Representatives or states their desires via the “contact us” form on the GHA website
Note: The client’s personal details are kept secured at all times while in our possession
GHA personnel contact the client in order to coordinate finer details, and request further information or documentation from the client to complete the package (if required)
GHA personnel utilize their private network, coordinating with their overseas doctors, dentists or surgeons on a treatment plan and ascertain an estimated price based on the client’s requirements. The final price may vary, but our overseas healthcare experts are experienced at this and, barring unforeseen complications, the estimated price is correct 95% of the time.
Note 1: Requests for common procedures have a response provided back within 24 hours
Note 2: Requests for uncommon or highly personalized procedures can take up to 48 hours to provide a cost estimate to a client – this done to ensure the best treatment plan is developed
If the client wishes to proceed with the procedure they contact the GHA Client Service Center to begin scheduling and completing the remaining paperwork: trip organization begins!
Why are the costs so low outside of the U.S. and U.K.?
Cross-border healthcare systems were developed differently than those systems which developed in the U.S. and U.K. For instance, the higher costs for healthcare in the United States are caused by higher labor and insurance costs (partly). Lawsuits are also fewer at overseas locations. While the costs of cross-border care is lower, the quality is the same or even higher!
So, what about quality?
The GHA doesn’t only say they use quality hospitals and clinics – they prove it! All hospitals and clinics utilized by the Global Health Alliance have attained certification from the Joint Commission International (JCI) so they are considered as having the same standards as U.S. hospitals. Additionally, those same hospitals are certified by the German TÜV forISO 9001:2008 – a very important certification! (see next FAQ)
What is the ISO 9001:2008?
Honestly, the founder of the Global Health Alliance believes this certification is what elevates our hospitals and clinics above that of any other agencies that are not so certified.
Part of the ISO 9001: 2008 inspection process deals with ensuring past customer satisfaction. Part of this certification process ensures the TÜV has surveyed as many past clients as possible to ascertain if those clients were satisfied with the service provided by the facility which seeks their certification. Receiving the German TÜV ISO 9001: 2008certification guarantees there is a high level of past customer satisfaction at those facilities!
77% of those seeking medical or dental care outside of the U.S. actually utilize testimonials in making their decision on which facilitator to use. The fallacy in doing this is that medical facilitators will virtually hand-pick only the most satisfied customer reviews for their website – so their clients will never see any unsatisfied customers. Anyone visiting any Medical Travel company website will surely see there will never be any disgruntled letters published on those sites. The GHA is guaranteed to never falsely advertise a high level of customer satisfaction – we prove it with third-party inspection! Our client satisfaction is inspected by a nationally recognized German (third-party) agency; the TÜV – and is therefore guaranteed to meet the highest standard of customer satisfaction. This is the highest level of credibility one can expect from any medical facilitator.
Because the GHA utilizes facilities having undergone the TÜV inspection process – it must adhere to German statute and therefore we cannot utilize testimonials. If the GHA were to use testimonials it would not be considered a fair business practice and therefore its affiliate partner’s TÜV certifications would be jeopardized and/or revoked. We prefer to keep our proof…
Can I know the doctors’ credentials?
Yes, we can provide our clients with the doctor’s professional credentials upon request. We do not advertise them on our website as others do but they are available. Also, utilizing our doctor’s names, once divulged to interested clients, it is easy for our clients to utilize Google to inspect their home pages where their extensive resumes and certifications are posted, which is the common trend.
Should I tell my private practitioner I’m utilizing cross-border care?
While clients are not required to tell their at-home doctor that they’re using a cross-border doctor or facility, the GHA recommends to our clients they still discuss the issue with their general practitioner. A GHA Client Service Representative can also arrange correspondence between our clients’ physician and the treating physician at one of our partner facilities, if requested.
What should I tell my personal physician?
More than 25% (and growing) of the physicians practicing in the U.S. are foreign born and so most of them are already aware of the high-quality care available outside the U.S. Regardless, while their initial reaction should be of immediate approval, in some cases their feedback may be their expressing their concern.
The GHA advises the best approach for our clients who wish to discuss their plan with their doctor is to understand themselves all the details of their desired cross-border visit. Our clients should understand their treatment plan as provided free by the GHA with the associated cost estimate, the details of their stay, and the credentials and certification of both their cross-border physician and facility. Having all the information about their visit means their private physician can be given the answers to any question they might have. The GHA Client Service Reps stand ready to help their clients discover further information they may need in order to answer all their primary caregiver’s questions: and this should definitely address all concerns any physician might have.
In rare cases, if a doctor is against their patient traveling abroad for medical purposes, they should be encouraged to do research on the medical care facility and physicians in question. They may then be surprised to know there is great quality care available outside of the U.S. The GHA also understands that doctors often know best, primarily because many patient’s have unique medical conditions. Given this truth, risk management dictates clients dissuaded from medical travel by their attending care provider should take their practitioner’s advice.
Do the doctors & medical staff speak English?
Yes, in nearly all cases the doctors and dentists we utilize at the GHA both speak and understand English, though some will of course be better than others. However, the GHA always maintains an English interpreter available at all times in case there are any difficulties in understanding, or to assist when or where needed.
May clients travel with a companion?
Of course! This is the beauty of medical tourism – having a friend or relative along to provide assistance or to entertain during a vacation portion of such travel. Of course, the companion would still require a valid passport and visa. GHA Client Service stands ready to answer further questions regarding accompanied travel and to assist with all the associated arrangements that would be required. To date, the trend is that about 60% of clients traveling to Istanbul also take advantage of tourism while there. There is a free tour of major sites within Istanbul every Saturday which is arranged for our clients. It should also be noted that about 30% of clients bring a companion.
Where do GHA clients stay?
The GHA works with some of the finest, 4 and 5-star hotels near to its hospitals and clinics. A page on the GHA website has been dedicated to these accommodations so our clients may see pictures and know what to expect. Also, the pricing for these hotels are pre-negotiated and so are made transparent on that same webpage. Our clients are never disappointed! While clients sometimes request different accommodations from what’s offered on our webpage, and if so – it can be arranged. But all clients should understand that the contracted hotel prices are kept to a minimum due to pre-negotiated pricing, and that hotels in Istanbul are often more than double the price of the contracted ones.
Does the Global Health Alliance or their Client Service Representatives provide any healthcare advice?
No: no Client Service Representative at the GHA will ever give medical advice. All medical treatment plans and cost estimates received by our prospective clients and coming from the GHA are the product of the GHA’s affiliate physicians and do not originate from the Global Health Alliance LLC itself. All medical advice and medical services will only come from and be originated by a licensed medical practitioner, not a GHA representative. Please see the Terms of Service listed on our website for a more lengthy explanation.
What happens when a client requires follow-up or post-op care?
Follow-up care, when required, can be done by a doctor of the client’s choosing in their home country; usually being their Primary Care Manager or personal physician. It is highly suggested any required post-operative care should be arranged prior to the client’s trip abroad so all concerned parties know what should occur as part of the treatment plan. This subject will be discussed with clients during the pre-arrangement stage, prior to the client’s departure to a cross-border facility. Clients should also note that follow-up care will also be discussed by the overseas doctor. The client may be given specific medications, possibly to include any prescription medication required for post-operative care. The client will also be prompted on how to care for themselves based on whichever procedure they’ve undergone while overseas. Post-trip care is very important and discussed exhaustively before and after treatment is given at our Istanbul locations.
What are the Global Health Alliance fees?
The GHA is paid by our affiliate member hospitals and clinics based on pre-negotiated contracts specially arranged with our service providers. The beauty of this is that it guarantees an ethical approach to pricing, which many medical facilitators do not have. With exclusivity contracts, which are akin to pre-negotiated pricing plans, the GHA, its affiliate members, to include hospitals and practitioners, have created a de-facto partnership. Each partner plays a unique role, coming together and in the end providing high-quality healthcare to our clients. The GHA then works with its clients who seek the peace and mind, comfort, safety and quality that GHA-associate hospitals, clinics and staff represent. This system was developed to lower client risk and at the same time maximize savings and quality which are then enjoyed by our clients. GHA specifically sought out and found the right doctors and dentists operating out of the right facilities, and then built a process to get GHA clients to those highly qualified practitioners. Because of the way this process was built, maximum savings are guaranteed, especially noted by people who have individually sought out the same manner of treatment and accommodation in the same facilities. The price is guaranteed and as transparent as possible!
Can clients deal directly with the hospital to lower their medical expense?
No. GHA affiliate hospitals and clinics would actually charge more for individuals who contact them directly. The real benefit our clients have when utilizing the GHA is that we have standing exclusivity deals, guaranteeing the hospitals, clinics and hotels in our affiliation more patients and clients, which in turn helps their bottom line and drives everyone’s costs down. They are guaranteed more volume, which gives them better pricing power. The savings are passed on to our clients, who reap their rewards in attaining a higher quality of life, with less risk taken on.
Why should I choose the Global Health Alliance?
We manage risk. Unlike most other medical facilitators, the GHA focuses on managing all risks associated with cross-border travel for health and dental care. We provide peace of mind, safety, knowledge, transparency, and more – while still offering highly competitive prices
A proven track record of satisfaction and success: Since 2008, GHA affiliate members have helped thousands of clients attain successful treatment abroad – currently being the number one provider of hair transplants in Turkey!
Our HIGH client satisfaction rating is verified by a third party; the German TÜV
We are a U.S. veteran-owned LLC, who strives not only to create jobs in the United States, but also seeks to empower each GHA employee with mentoring so they can set and attain their own, personal goals
We support our Wounded Warriors: A percentage of our profits always goes directly to The Wounded Warrior Project as a way to give back to wounded warriors and their families
What happens to personal medical information sent to the GHA?
The founder of the GHA has an extensive background and is heavily certified in Information Systems Security. A core tenant of the GHA core values deals in the safeguarding of all clients’ medical and health-related information. Because of this, our client records are safeguarded to the highest level possible. Of course, there is always risk when dealing with online activity and the passing of personal information, but the GHA system disassociates names with procedures and conditions in order to maximize privacy.
What is the best way to get started?
Any prospective client should complete the online “contact us” form, though they may desire to just directly call the GHA Client Service Center’s toll-free line 1-844-4ADMIRE where our representatives stand by to assist. However, filling out the form first will give the GHA Rep a head start in understanding the requirements at hand. The GHA Rep will then either call or email the prospective client to discuss their needs. Filling out a form or contacting the GHA via phone does not create a contract and is used only to begin the process of dialogue between our clients and us.
Where is the Global Health Alliance located?
Our primary office is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, just outside of Tinker Air Force Base, with a call center near Los Angeles, as well as a call center just outside of Oklahoma City. Our affiliates have offices both in Rastatt, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey.
What if something goes wrong with my procedure?
No medical facilitator in the world can give assurance that nothing will ever go wrong. The GHA takes the greatest care in mitigating any associated risks, safeguarding as best as they can be using only the most heavily certified people and facilities, but nothing can guarantee perfection. To offset this final risk, the GHA always advises the purchase of specially designed medical tourism insurance. More information can be found on this subject in the “Client Services” tab on the GHA webpages. Again, purchase of this insurance is highly recommended by the GHA to offset any risk that something possibly go wrong with either air travel, medical complications, or evacuations. It should be noted that, to date, our affiliates have an astounding track record even after many thousands of procedures being completed.
Does the use of medical tourism hurt the US or UK medical systems?
Absolutely not. People utilizing medical tourism tend to be people who cannot be helped within the system as it exists today, usually because they lack the funds to pay exorbitant prices for care. By having access to and utilizing less expensive medical tourism destinations, such as the ones provided to them by the Global Health Alliance, our clients improve the quality of their lives and health. This, in turn, helps them in their personal lives, sometimes extending their working lives, helps their family by elevating their happiness, even going so far as to creating jobs for Americans who assist them in their journey. There are MANY benefits to utilizing the medical tourism industry and should be a win/win for the client, and the country.
Isn’t it expensive to travel so far for treatment?
Compared to the savings in the medical costs, travel cost is usually negligible as long as the procedure which would have been done in the U.S. would have cost at least $6000. Mathematically, it is around that price which tends to be a break-even point. Seeking treatment in Istanbul, a beautiful, historic, and exotic place, affords not only inexpensive and reliable health care but also the chance to explore a portion of the world that is well worth the small expense.
What’s included in the cost of care?
Each client receives a cost estimate and treatment plan for the care they seek, and each quote details what is included, line item by line item. Unless there are extra-special circumstances, the final cost estimate and treatment plan tends to be nearly the exact, final total for all related expenses. The GHA Rep will break down those costs and discuss them with each client individually, but due to our transparency, clients have a near-exact understanding of all charges prior to departure. While we ask each client to seek clarification for any questions they might have arising from their treatment plan and cost estimate, to make sure it meets all of their needs, the estimate itself is a price valid for 30 days from the time it is received by the client. If it is not accepted within that time, another cost estimate must be requested. A GHA Client Service Rep will discuss the cost estimate in detail to answer all questions and ensure all of the client needs are covered so the client is empowered to accept or reject the estimate.
Can more than one procedure be done during the same trip?
Yes, it may be possible but it may also depend on what treatment(s) are being sought. Many treatments are easily done in tandem, some are not. An affiliate doctor can make that determination based on the client’s medical condition and desire. Once in Istanbul and discussing their treatment plans with their chosen practitioners, about 7% of clients actually request and purchase a secondary procedure (example: someone came in for a tummy tuck but decided to add a Botox treatment once they saw the ease of the system). Clients, once they understand how simple the process actually is, tend to be thrilled and ready to do more than one procedure!
Who will be dealing with the details of my case during my trip?
The GHA always tries to assign each client to one specific Client Service Representative at the GHA. This is not always possible but we do strive to reach this goal. This is always done when possible to ensure each client receives individualized attention and care and no information or time is lost while coordinating a trip.
What if the desired procedure isn’t listed on the GHA website?
There are so many different kinds of procedures available that listing them all on a website isn’t practical. Nearly everyprocedure is available so we just suggest to any prospective client that they fill out a “contact us” form and send it to us, or call our toll-free number, 1-844-4ADMIRE, to discuss the possibilities. We will be happy to answer any questions.
What travel documents will be required?
Depending on the client’s country of origin, citizenship, and/or destination country, they will need a valid passport and probably a visa. A GHA Client Service Representative stands by to answer questions about these processes, though all necessary information is already posted on the GHA website.
Is Istanbul a safe city? What is the best way to travel while there?
Istanbul is known to be one of the safest cities in the world, especially compared to other medical tourism destinations like Mexico or India. Additionally, one of the most wonderful aspects of utilizing GHA is the private chauffeur service which not only picks up each client at the airport and drops them back off, but also meets them at predetermined times to ferry them back and forth between appointments. No public transportation is ever required unless the client wishes to go exploring in the city itself. GHA clients obviously find this the service to be the most useful, safest and comfortable form of travel. When a client wishes, however, to include a personal vacation package with their travel package, they will be instructed on how best to travel outside of the chauffeur service. All of this and more is briefed to each client before they travel so they know what to expect.
Are inoculations required for travel to Turkey?
There are no mandatory inoculations required, but the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends certain vaccinations for different people. To see a comprehensive list of these suggestion inoculations at the CDC website please click here. Also note the GHA webpage dedicated to answering this question, which can be found under “GHA Services”.
What additional costs might be incurred during the trip?
Any care or service relating to any complication(s) that may arise, which is not related to the patient’s treatment may increase the final bill
additional costs are charged to the client in accordance with the hospital’s standard charges prevailing at the time of the complication’s treatment
Any service or care relating to major complications that arise during the patient’s operation, which necessitates the patient’s transfer into an Internal or External Specialized Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
additional costs are charged to the patient in accordance with the hospital’s standard charges prevailing at the time of the complication’s treatment
Any in-patient stay extension in the hospital, with regard to the initial length of hospitalization, and in relation to the patient’s surgical treatment, and decided upon, due to medical reasons, by the patient and the surgeon. In such an event, costs relating to the in-patient stay extension will be charged to the patient and paid immediately to the hospital
Are any guarantees offered?
There are several guarantees offered by either the GHA affiliates or the GHA themselves. For instance, the hair transplant team offers an astounding 25 year guarantee on any hair transplant as long as the client is not negligent with its care. This may sound almost absurd to some people, but with the explanation that transplanted hair is permanent, it is not absurd at all. All hair transplant specialists should offer this guarantee or they should be suspect in their practices.
GHA offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, more of which may be read about by clicking here.
The GHA and its affiliate hospitals both have this guarantee: the client may cancel their procedures at any time and pay no penalties for uncompleted work. This does not extend to work or accommodations already utilized, such as lab work having been completed must still be paid for. But this guarantee was set in place to ensure that if the client loses trust or confidence in their physician or hospital – the client may leave and cancel without penalty.
Dental implants have a 10 year warranty because only the best materials and technology are used.
The GHA affiliate dental clinic offers a 5 year warranty on some of its dental procedures. More information may be found on this subject by contacting a GHA Representative and arranging a treatment plan and price quote with the Istanbul dental team.