Hundreds of patient mediators offer help to foreign patients in Germany. However, there are many black sheeps as well. What is important in selecting one?
80 to 90 percent of mediators work dubious, as estimated by a Russian-speaking patient mediator a few years ago, in an interview with the German radio station Deutschlandfunk. It doesn’t only mean issuing of false invoices and overcharging. Even if an agent always recommends same private practices or hospitals on his website, one should be able to research the selection and have it explained in detail. It may be, that the mediator, has concluded cooperation agreements with some practices or clinics. In that case he rather directs patients to a cooperation partner, instead of looking for an expert for the respective disease, that could decide not to charge a mediation fee. In Germany, it is officially forbidden for physicians or hospitals to pay for the allocation of patients. A third point, is the lack of expertise of many mediators, there is no certification system in Germany. That is, anyone can become a patient mediator. Many people forget, that in order to pursue this responsible job, they not only have to translate very accurately and well, but should also be an insider of the health system.
3 tips to make a choice
In general, it is advisable to obtain several cost estimates before treatment, in order to be able to compare the offers. That means you ask at least two intermediaries and ask for an estimate. If the bills differ a lot, something is wrong. In addition, you should be allowed to choose, in which hospital or in which practice you would like to be treated, so that you’re sure, that the hospital or practice is the best option for you. Thirdly, it is advisable to choose a patient service provider who has been active for a longer time and knows the medical market in Germany well. But beware: even large patient service providers with many employees who act long in the market, sometimes do not operate correctly.
International Units of the clinics
Major hospitals have now established International Units, which provide advice in the main languages, usually English, Arabic and Russian. However, despite this multi-lingual counseling service, most homes do not provide comprehensive care. When translating, organizing medical visas or planning your journey, you often depend on a (trustworthy) agency. Unfortunately only a few clinics offer a complete range of care services. Contact us if you would like to know, which specialist clinics not only take care of your medical treatment, but also the organization on site.
Good intermediaries mean it
What you should pay attention to when choosing a patient mediator:
- Technical justification of the clinic/practice choice
- Transparent cost estimate. In doubt get a second opinion.
- Proven expertise in translation and an on-site support.