Choosing the best expat hospital by its rating is a risk

Published:  6 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, India, Money
One of the most important decisions expats need to make when choosing an overseas destination for retirement or a new job is the availability of quality medical care.

Many private hospitals overseas are now using rating systems, considered as the equivalent of the ‘star’ system for hotels. However, relying on ratings when deciding where to settle may be the wrong way to get a high standard of medical care, as the ratings may have been purchased from the expanding number of organisations offering inspections and so-called official accreditation, often with fancy certificates and extra awards for extra cash. Should something go horribly wrong, few, if any, ratings agencies will help with complaints or pay compensation for medical errors.

One example, an American hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, was the recipient of a gold seal from the International Commission on Healthcare Association for three consecutive years, and had been awarded its ‘top performer’ prize. The hospital had also won a commendation for hospital safety from the Leapfrog Group. Unsatisfied patients who’d checked the latest hospital safety report by the US authority would have found that, out of 2,500 medical facilities checked, the hospital was last on the list, with 11 marks out of a possible 100.

The problem is widespread and covers many countries, with the United Nations now proposing yet another accreditation scheme. Basically, accreditation groups make money from their services, including courses sold to groups of hospital workers. None are consumer oriented in a field in which customer service is essential, with concerned experts considering finding a good clinic nowadays is a lottery. In many popular expat destinations, private hospitals are springing up to serve medical tourism as well as expat residents. Those in Southeast Asia and India are lucrative big business for their owners, and expats need to be sure their medical insurance covers all aspects of medical care including malpractice, excessive treatments and overlong stays.
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