1. Why are prices in Guatemala’s private medical network so low compared to those in the U.S.?
The overall cost of living is way lower in Guatemala, as the minimum hourly wage is only US$17 per day !! Secretaries and receptionists earn slightly above that, while Guatemalan Doctors earn comparatively way less than their American colleagues, although they may perform the same procedures, following the same protocols, with the same equipment and may have earned their specialty degrees in the same American universities. Rental or purchase of a medical clinic in Guatemala´s modern Medical District is also way more affordable than premium real estate in the U.S. Moreover, American Doctors have to pay huge insurance premiums to protect themselves against eventual malpractice suits, and hence they havemuch higher overhead costs, which are then passed along to the American consumer/patient.
2. Do Guatemalan Doctors and Hospitals accept my medical Insurance?
When you contact the Health and Wellness Tourism Commission (HWTC) via our Request for information form, we can check for you whether the hospital or specialist Doctor you are interested in, accepts your private Insurance Company, and whether the Doctor is going to be re-imbursed, or else if you are going to be re-imbursedby your insurance Company after submitting your invoice or receipt. Private insurance Companies and/or Medicare reimburse patients in case of emergency.
3. Can you help me find a Specialist MD or a Hospital for my procedure?
Yes, we can help you in your search and this service is free: please fill in the Request for information form and we will gladly assist youin gearing you towards one or several reputable Specialist MDs and/or Hospitals/Clinics.
4. How will I be protected against malpractice or adverse complications?
Our Health & Wellness Tourism Commission refers you to Specialist MDs of Guatemala´s private medical network, after careful screening of their academic and professional background.
Guatemalan Doctors are very cautious with medical travelers, because they know that not only their credentials are at stake, but also Guatemala´s reputation, so they exercise due diligence so that medical travelers experience top quality and personalized care; once back in their home country, those patients will put Guatemala on the map for excellence of healthcare.
At the same time,as everywhere else in the world, medical practice is not mathematics: just as in Europe or in North America, including with the best Doctors in the most prestigious clinics or hospitals, zero risk in Medicine does not exist.
Before the surgery or treatment, the Guatemalan Specialist will carefully analyze your health condition, your medical history, he will listen to you and thoroughly explain the different procedures available, the alternative options, the outcomes and risks involved, so that you will be in a position to outweigh the pros and the cons of a desired procedure, and knowingly decide to go ahead or not.
5. If I suffer from complications due to surgery, can I sue for malpractice?
The concept of “medical malpractice” is a term formally defined by the American legal system as “a Doctor’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill that a physician or surgeon of the same medical specialty would use under similar circumstances”. Even though the term “medical malpractice” may not be literally described as such under Guatemalan or other Latin American legislations, a Doctor or Hospital may be held liable in any of these jurisdictions for “unvoluntary manslaughter” or “personal injuries” inflicted on the patient due to the doctor’s failure, due to negligence or inexperience, to exercise the degree of care and skill necessary for a certain medical procedure.
If you want to be completely covered against eventual adverse outcomes or complications, you can buy a “Medical Travel Insurance” policy which are sold by some insurance companies, like the one offered by AOS Assurance.
6. What about safety issues in Guatemala?
Guatemala City is much safer than many urban areas in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris or any of the other big tourist cities in the world… If you know WHERE, HOW and with WHOM to travel, then you will have a safe time, with no problems at all.
By addressing yourself to a Medical Travel Agency, its first priority is your safety both inside and outside of the hospital/clinic. The facilitator will suggest which residential areas to stay at, which marginal areas to avoid and you´ll receive useful tips to remain safe during your whole medical trip. The agency´s role consists not only into facilitating your communication with Doctor and staff, but is there to assist you in getting every type of back up service you may need during your stay in Guatemala. Medical Travel facilitators are like your guardian angel: their goal is to maximize your pleasant experience in this country.
Ask the Health and Wellness Tourism Commission to refer you to an experienced Medical Travel Facilitator, whose fees are paid by the Clinics or the Doctors you choose to go to, at no extra cost to you.
Doctors love to work with Medical Travel Facilitators because it allows them to concentrate all their energies on the patient´s medical issues, knowing that they can trust the Medical Facilitator to take care of all the logistics and practical aspects that are very important for the patient´s wellbeing and the successful outcome of the medical experience.
Wherever you would choose to travel, a travel insurance is an excellent way to give you peace of mind; it will will cost you only a small fraction of the price of your flight ticket; a travel insurance will protect you against negative impacts of unforeseen events, like against any of the following scenarios that can happen anywhere in the world:
- hospitalization of a close relative forcing you to postpone your trip and your procedure
- your luggage gets lost en route
- you or your partner slip on the sidewalk and break your arm
However, travel insurance does not cover you for the medical procedure you choose to have performed abroad; if you want to be completely covered against eventual adverse outcomes or complications, you can buy a “medical travel insurance” policy available on the market, like the one offered by AOS Assurance.
By the way, the Health and Wellness Tourism Commission is a non-profit organization and has no business interests with insurance companies, nor Doctors, nor other companies.
7. Do I need a VISA to travel to Guatemala?
For U.S citizens, Canadians and most Europeans, a special entry VISA is not necessary to enter Guatemala, only a 3-month validity passport beyond your intended stay.
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