What are intermediary services and how are they calculated? Can one do without intermediaries, i.e. without our company?
Treatment in Germany without «intermediaries».
Internet is abundant with such headlines. What is it…? How so…? Cheaper…?
Let me share my thoughts on this matter.
Many years ago, when I worked as a surgeon in one of the largest hospitals in Germany - Nuremberg Clinic - the Director of our hospital has decided in 2003 to found an international department and offered to me the post of its Managing Director.
We have created this department and started a large advertising campaign in order to promote the brand of the hospital. Without any false modesty I can say that we have succeeded in this endeavor and today the Nuremberg Clinic is well-known outside of Germany. I frequented many exhibits in different countries of the world, met with potential partners, printed promotional materials, created a Russian version of the clinic’s website and communicated to everyone that I am not an intermediary, but Head of the International Department of the hospital and that the patient receives the bill directly from the hospital and everything is "clean." In reality, it was not all quite like that.
Every clinic in Germany is interested in increasing the inflow of foreign patients because it also brings off-budget financing from the insurance companies. At the same time, no hospital has sufficient funds for marketing, maintenance of transport, interpreters, etc. So where did the money come from, if my department has been spending from 80.000 to 100.000 EUR annually on marketing? From this marketing budget, we financed all promotions, participation in exhibits, design and print of advertising materials, internet, several cars for the patients.
Yes, the patients have been receiving the bill from the hospital, but these invoices have always contained also the costs for marketing and maintenance of the international department.
In 2007, we founded an independent company ClinicalSolutionsGmbH and became administratively independent from the hospital. We continue to work closely with the Nuremberg Clinic and other medical institutions in Germany, expanding our spectrum of medical services and including services at health spa resorts as well as other special services for patients.
I am convinced that this model is much more understandable and transparent for patients, as they now receive "clean" invoice from the hospital and, in accordance with the contract that is signed with our company, agreeing to pay the organizational costs, the work of the translators, transportation and all that as the original, absolutely transparent official bills.
Yes, we are intermediaries, but this mediation activity entails lots of assiduous and time-consuming work. Many things depend on its quality: reliability of visa support for the patient, appropriate selection of medical experts, logistic organization of your and your family’s stay in Germany, as well as much more. Our experience shows that patients appreciate this work and they do not doubt the fact that it should be paid.
I was once asked in an interview why does one need our company, since the patients can turn directly to the clinic and come in for treatment? Yes, they can. But imagine seeking medical help in a foreign country without speaking its language, without understanding the structure of health care system and how hospitals operate. Who should one write to and who to contact for advice? Should one address the professor who is head of department? Or the secretary? Or the director of the hospital? In what language can one write to them? Where should the patient send the scans? How to make a payment for the treatment, who will meet at the airport and who will book the hotel, who will provide translation help, who will take care of the whole logistics of the visit? Our company solves all of these questions.
We have quite extensive experience - about 500 patients each year. The main indicator of the quality of our services is the constant increase in the number of calls to our office. This means that patients who have benefited from our "intermediary" medical services – whether it was during diagnostic examination or complicated surgeries - were satisfied and recommended us to their family and friends. Yes, nowadays the main form of "advertising" of health services is via "word of mouth", as in this case one’s positive personal experience is of paramount importance.
More than 25 years of medical practice have taught me that only a combination of high professionalism, accountability and sensitivity can ensure the success of the treatment. But equally important is the trust from the patient’s side. Here I have tried to resolve some doubts that you may have regarding the medical treatment in Germany. I hope to have showed you what our assistance in the organization of your treatment entails. We will be happy to help you!