The answer to the question about costs of treatment can only be approximate. Unfortunately, many medical reports that we receive from abroad do not meet the European standards of diagnostics and can not be used for establishing a clear diagnosis. If, on the basis of the submitted documents, it is difficult to propose a definite course of treatment, then the patient is offered the option of conducting a medical diagnostic examination at our clinics. After the final diagnosis is made and the question of possible treatment strategies is solved, the patient is presented with the approximate cost of the treatment. Why approximate? Many years ago, when I was still working in the vascular surgery clinic of the Nuremberg hospital, once a colleague of mine showed me x-rays of the patient's blood vessels, and asked for my opinion.
It was then that I have formulated for myself a good statement of my attitude towards treating patients. To his question “What would you do in this case?” I answered that I prefer to inspect the patient and I try to treat people, not "fix" X-rays. I am mentioning this instance because the doctor who is responsible for making a decision must always see the patient, find out the nature of his complaints, understand the nature of concomitant diseases, etc. For example, it often happens that even in the case of prolapsed intervertebral disc – which can be clearly diagnosed via magnetic tomography – there is no indication for necessary surgery if the patient is experiencing no complaints.
While discussing the question of costs, I would like to touch upon one more topic: some nuances of the German health care insurance system. In Germany, there are two types of insurance companies: public and private. The only difference lies in the fact that public health insurance covers the costs of the whole range of medical services but if the patient wishes to be treated by professors and head doctors, and to stay in a 1-bed hospital room, only the private health insurance pays for this.
Many German hospitals are very interested in the inflow of foreign patients and nowadays almost all German clinics a priori treat foreign patients like clients of private insurance companies. They are accommodated in 1-bed hospital room, surgeries are conducted by professors who are department heads, anesthesia is given also by heads of anesthesia departments, all consultations are carried out only by professors.
In 2003, when I started to create the international department of the Nuremberg hospital, I wondered why it is so. We want to promote the brand of the clinic abroad and we want to provide the citizens of other countries with the high quality German medical health care. That means that we are interested in attracting a higher amount of patients, and therefore we need to focus on people with various financial means.
That is how we came up with the option of the so-called "Economy Class treatment." And, respectively, there should be a "Business Class" option. So how does it work? The economy class accommodates the patient in a 2-bed hospital room with full board and all amenities. The patient received consultations and treatment not from the professors and heads of the department, but from regular highly-qualified specialists and doctors. It should be noted that according to the standards of the Nuremberg Clinic, 2-bed hospital rooms have two toilets and two showers. In other words, the comfort level is very high and the price is approximately 50% lower!
If the patient prefers a private room and treatment by professors, then this is provided by the "Business Class" category. Basically, the same goal is achieved – high-quality medical care - the only difference is in the service and the price.
In 2004, the hospital expanded its services by building a special department of the 5-star hotel quality. This department is called "Medicine Plus." It features many additional services such as sauna, solarium, bar, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, fully-equipped conference room for business meetings. Patients can have their own personal chef service, catering to their culinary needs and gourmet tastes.
However, the patient has to pay for the service in this VIP suite approximately 200 EUR per day extra, in addition to the cost of business class. This category has received the label "First Class."
Every head of any department or any professor in the clinic can "rent" this VIP suite for treating a patient there. This is a multifunctional department. When a patient contacts us and informs us right away that he only wants the VIP service, then we prepare a preliminary calculation of the costs of stay and treatment in this Medicine Plus department. If the patient inquires about the prices, then we receive from the hospital accounting department the three price categories, in accordance with the ones described above, and inform the patient. He then decides what is more preferable.