General information for consulting in planning necessary steps to come for medical treatment in Germany (international patients) and abroad (for Germans)
Getting the right medical documents from interested patient
Following medical documents are necessary and help to make a first diagnostic and therapy proposal and work out a price-/cost-calculation:
- an actual medical report of the treating doctor at home
– With disease history
– Actual situation of the disease with symptoms (e.g. pain)
– Side diagnoses (e.g. diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity)
- Blood screening results
- Picturing (e.g. x-ray, CT, MRI, heart-echo)
- Histology report (of a tissue samples to analyses cells – if suspect of a tumour)
- Photos in case of burnings, after a tumour resection and so on.
Almost all documents can be sent by email! If you have pictures (as x-ray, CT, MRI and so on) there are always a report and the pictures itself. When you have report and corresponding pictures, pls. send it by email. Here radiologists are also looking at it and discuss it then with the surgical or internal medicine specialist.
If the patient got a tumour suspect and tissue samples are resected (by a biopsy or a little operation), pathologists prepare the resected tissue sample in so-called blocks where tissue samples can be stored. It is possible to send those blocks by post (e.g. DHL). You can also send the histology report first. The best way is to send both histology report and blocks so that German specialists can look at it and analyse it.
The more and the better medical documents are the better a price calculation can be prepared. Price calculations are always done on the basis of German price catalogues that are the same for all German medical institutions!!! There might be little differences in price estimations because the less medical documents we have the higher a risk fee is added on.
Looking for the best specialist for your disease or disease suspect
Actually, GHMC works together with many medical specialists (chief doctors, professors) throughout Germany. Thus, we do not look for it but we analyse your medical documents and give it the correct specialist for your disease. It is possible that we send documents to 2 specialists if there is a complicated situation. This is a normal step and even specialists themselves do it.
Along with the most striking issue of finding the best specialist, a patient and his/her family should consider other aspects, mainly in the non-medical service area.
In Germany, there are only a few price catalogues or daily rates that are binding for German medical institutions. There is a price catalogue for inpatient treatment (DRG catalogue) in an acute hospital (acute means not rehab), a catalogue for outpatient treatment (EBM catalogue) and a price catalogue for private treatment (GOÄ). Highly specialized centres for long-term treatment like centres for paralyzed people and non-acute specialized medical institutions like rehab-, special care-centres, centres for elderly people also have daily rates.
This means, that there is no open market for prices of medical procedure in Germany.
An example: The procedure of resecting an inflamed appendix (appendicitis) is called appendectomy and costs the same price, it does not matter which German hospital is doing this procedure. There might be little differences in the price. If the appendicitis has caused complications the price goes up in the price catalogue DRG.
If a patient wishes private treatment, means professors/clinical director take care of him/her, he has to pay additionally all in the case involved professors. If a patient gets a medical treatment of an operation, then professors of the surgery, anaesthesia, central-lab, pathology – at least, maybe even more if other departments are involved like cardiology (if the patient got a heart check before the operation was started) or microbiology (if an infection is suspected) or endocrinology (if the patient is a diabetic and got a council of an endocrinologist before the operation). Thus, there might be many professors involved in a medical case but the patient only sees the surgeon and the anaesthetist. Booking private status makes the medical treatment a lot more expensive since all involved professors can charge their own bill according to price catalogue GOÄ.
Does it make sense to get private treatment? On the one side: surely, because there are very good professors/clinical directors. On the other side: a patient who is not private does not get less or a worse medical quality. An example: a fixation of a certain type of tibia fracture (lower leg) can only be done in one standardized way at the highest quality, it does not matter whether the patient is private or not. Since a professor / clinical director is quite often a very good specialist, it might be better or a safer feeling for a patient.
Nevertheless, it is quite sure that a private patient and a non-private patient basically get the best medical quality in Germany. ATTENTION: each international patient can choose whether he wants to be (and can pay) a private patient or non-private patient. International patients who do not pay by themselves (because an Embassy or a State or an international health insurance is paying) need to check which status is paid by the money-giver.
Additional hospital services like a single room and an accompanying person are extra charged with a daily rate.
GHMC is preparing a price-/cost calculation according to German price catalogues on the basis of your medical documents that have been checked by a specialist/professor!
The practical side of all financial, organizational
and administrative issues
If a patient is not health-insured in Germany, medical institutions normally only accept a prepayment of the calculated treatment. Thus, the patient has to pay the full amount of the price-/cost calculation in advance.
This is a tight rule, which has a couple of good reasons:
- German medical institutions have to ensure that treatment costs are covered
- The German Foreign Office requests prove that the patient who will enter Germany can pay the planned treatment.
- Prepayment is the prerequisite for German Embassies to give a medical visa (Attention: if you enter Germany for the purpose of medical treatment the patient needs a medical visa, not a tourist visa)
GHMC is supporting international patients and their families for getting a correct medical visa. The full pre-payment of the calculated, planned treatment is mandatory!
There might be further reasons the German Embassy is addressing to the patient to prove. GHMC has good relationships to many German Embassies and can thus clarify upcoming questions directly. Anyway, the medical visa is an important prerequisite to enter Germany and needs to be managed correctly.
German medical institutions can prolong medical visa at the local Foreign Office if a medical treatment is planned longer.
German medical institutions cannot prolong tourist visa! If a patient comes with a tourist visa and goes directly to a hospital asking for a treatment in a short notice, hospitals are not amused and the prepayment needs to be done anyway too.
Organization of the arrival till the admission
of the patient in the hospital
Before a patient finally ends up in the hospital, he / she has a couple of things to do like booking a flight/train/car – trip, a hotel or accommodation (flat or room) and an exact appointment for admission and for seeing the professor. GHMC can do those things for you or at least gives you good hints what to do and what realistic prices are.
International patients need a medical translator in a hospital. A medical translator is necessary if the admission is done at the reception and if there patient – doctor/professor talks. GHMC is coordinating medical translators out of our pool of well-trained medical translators. In Germany, it is a law that doctors / professors have to make sure that a patient understands his diagnose, prognosis and therapy. For doing so a medical translator who translate those talks between the patient and a doctor / professor needs to be involved.
International patients should always have their passport!
ATTENTION: If the first diagnostic screening brings out different diagnoses as taken in the price-/cost calculation, a new calculation on the basis of the new disease and changed planned therapy must be done. Depending on this, the patient might pay additionally because the new necessary therapy is more expensive. Or visa versa, if the taken diagnose in the first price-/cost calculation is wrong and the patient does not need the originally planned treatment, he gets his pre-paid money back.
Of course, over the whole time of staying here in Germany for treatment, GHMC is on side of the patient and his/her family/friends
Taking care while and after having finished
medical treatment in Germany
If a medical treatment in Germany has been finished following aspects are to consider:
- at the discharge day you need to get
– a final medical report with recommendation about following necessary steps at home (medication, follow-up appointments, physiotherapy, orthopaedic supportive things).
– Pictures that have been done during your stay in the hospital either as pictures or as digital files
– A possible follow-up appointment in Germany
- Is there any rehab necessary? Pls. ask doctors, pls. ask GHMC – we organize specialized rehab centres in Germany, Austria or Switzerland!
- Billing: After having finished treatment in Germany, one or several bills about the really done treatment of the hospital and maybe, if the patient was private, a couple of professor's single bills need to be issued. The sum of all those bills needs to be compared with the amount of the pre-payment and when indicated the patient gets money back or has to pay some more. The normal case in Germany is that international patients get money back since a price-/cost-calculation that is done in advance without having seen the patient and with possible unreliable medical documents there is always a risk charge which normally is not needed.