On Thursday, June 26th, there was held in Tel Aviv the first international conference on the subject of medical tourism which was organized by the Israeli Medical Tourism Association IMTA
In the conference there took an active part representatives of the public and private hospitals in Israel: The medical center "Beilinson" on the name of Itzhak Rabin, "Meir", "Soroca", "Re'ut", "Assuta", representatives of the medical centers "Ramat Aviv", "Herzliya Medical Center", the Center of Medicine for Children on the name of Izi Shapira, representatives of the Rehabilitation Center "Lewinstein", of the Health Fund "Clalit" – and also 25 companies of medical tourism, which represent the IMTA organization.
The letters of congratulation addressed to the Israeli Forum were sent by the Russian Association for Medical Tourism (Moscow) and the Ukrainian Association for Medical Tourism (Kiev).
In the conference a Guest of Honor delivered a speech – the Knesset-Member, Chairman of the Committee for Aliya (Immigration), Absorption and the Diaspora, Mr. Joel Razvozov who felicitated all those present personally and in the name of the Minister of Health Yael German: "My felicitations to the Association of Medical Tourism in Israel IMTA on the occasion of the first international conference" said the Knesset-Member, "also I relay to you the greetings of the Minister of Health in Israel – Mrs. Yael German.
Medical Tourism has turned into an indivisible part of the Health System in Israel. Moreover, people who come from abroad to our country to receive medical treatment return to their houses and remember to the end of their lives how they were helped in Israel. Nowadays we deal a lot with the struggle against Anti-Semitism and against the attempts for de-legalization of Israel in the world. However, every foreign citizen who will return from Israel satisfied and healthy will tell everybody that precisely in Israel people helped them. No doubt, this strengthens the image of our state. Therefore you – those who help people from all over the world – by right turned to ambassadors of good will of Israel. I am sure that the decisions of the committee of the Minister of Health Yael German regarding Private Medical Health Services in public hospitals will put an end to the imbalance in the realm of public and private medicine, also to the situation where people deal in tourism, unauthorized to deal in this practice. I hope that you, professionals, will succeed to regulate this side by side with political factors this domain, which is so important to the authority of our country".
"Finally, in our country there was established an organization which will take responsibility to regulate the whole system of Medical Tourism in Israel, – noted in his speech at the conference the chairman of the Israeli Association for rehabilitation-medicine Dr. Yuli Trigger. - I, as a doctor and particularly as a rehabilitating doctor believe that if an organization has the name of "association for medical tourism" then it has a direct connection to medicine where the first rule is: Do not cause harm! It is about time to put an end to the scandal which unscrupulous traders perform, both on the medical and the humanitarian aspect. Therefore I am very glad that against all the fake companies and the private mediators there stands a whole association of professionals. It is very symbolical that the first international conference of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association is held at a time when the conclusions of the committee of the Ministry of Health regarding private medicine and medical tourism in the country were published. To my modest opinion the Ministry of Health and the Association of Medical Tourism have common goals: To supervise this domain and to regulate it on a political level, taking into consideration the views and experience of professionals."
"The establishment of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association IMTA which united the most experienced and authoritative companies in the realm of medical tourism, - this was a step required following the events of today, – marked the chairman of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association Mark Katzenelson. - Unfortunately, lots of companies which are founded and closed after a short time, appearance on the Israeli market of unscrupulous people to say the least who set up fake Internet sites and relate them to public hospitals, and spread because of their greed vain promises to seriously ill persons – all these have adversely affected the image of Israeli medicine. Many have come to the conclusion that only with joint efforts professionals will succeed to restore order in the sphere of medical tourism, regarding human and medical ethics, to strengthen the image of the State of Israel as one of the most advanced states in the world in the domain of health, and also – to raise the level of the medical service given in the country to an even higher standard.
This is the reason that the Israeli Medical Tourism Association positions itself as an organization but takes upon itself responsibility for the quality of the medical service to the patients from foreign countries, which will be given on the highest level and also for defense of the rights of these patients in our country. At the same time, the growing popularity of medical tourism stipulates to a considerable degree the need to improve also the standard of medical service for Israelis. Since the realm of medical tourism contributes much to the growth of the state budget and to balance the budget of the health-system, we strengthen the infrastructures in several Israeli hospitals, enable the purchase of novel and advanced medical equipment, help to increase the amount of beds in the wards and create new jobs".
Referring to the conclusions of the committee of the Minister of health Mrs. Yael German on the subject of giving private medical care in public hospitals – which were published yesterday, Mark Katzenelson emphasized that the members of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association support the initiative of the ministry of health regarding regulation of the domain of medical tourism in Israel and supervising it. We are in favor of implementation of clear practices in the realm of medical tourism and in favor of raising standards of quality of the medical service rendered to patients from abroad at an even higher and more stringent level", - added Mark Katzenelson.
During the conference its participants were updated regarding the results of the activity of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association during the last half year.
1. In the IMTA Association a legal department was opened and it operates successfully taking care of the complaints of patients from abroad related to several cases of deficient medical care in Israel, also rendering advice and recommendations on controversial issues. In case the complaints refer to a company of medical tourism which belongs to the association, the committee has the special authority to take all the necessary steps.
2. Under the auspices of the IMTA association there was developed a free of charge application to search for the optimal treatment in Israel, and the name of the application is iBolit. The application is installed in the smart phones and the tablets. This application which was developed by the Israeli specialists simplifies the process of searching for efficient medical solutions for this or the other medical problem, and the IMTA association guarantees the successful and qualitative carrying out of the stages of the process.
3. The specialists of the IMTA association have developed a standard contract for rendering medical services to inhabitants from abroad in Israel. This contract enables customers from foreign countries to defend themselves against superfluous nuisances and unpleasant surprises in receiving medical service in our country: Too often swindlers and "amateurs" devoid of the proper training put into the contracts which they sign with foreign residents unjustified requirements – which causes unnecessary expenses from the customer and exempts the unscrupulous mediators from responsibility.
4. The IMTA association in cooperation with the insurance company "Madanes" has developed and activated an universal insurance policy which can protect the rights of companies for medical tourism and their customers in the case of medical negligence on the one hand, and in case of mutual recriminations on the other hand.
5. The IMTA association has developed and activated a unique global system for Customers' Relations Managing (CRM) which enables all the medical companies – members of the association – to make efficient the process of rendering medical care to a patient from a foreign country and to work systematically in all the processes between the company and the customer - also with future applications. With the help of software, the management system CRM maintains and processes all the medical data of the clients, which contributes much to the success of treatment and to the quality of the medical service given to the customer.
6. It was agreed between the IMTA association and the Israeli company "El-Al" that a 10% discount will be given for flights back and forth to the customers of the association, and also the possibility to change the dates of flight back from Israel free of charge. For the first time "El-Al" enables patients from abroad to order flight tickets not only in the central offices of the flight company in Moscow and St. Petersburg but all over the country and in the countries in the commonwealth of independent states, in the Caucasus, in the Baltic countries and in the travel agencies which work in cooperation with IMTA.
7. For the first time an agreement was reached between the IMTA association and the Russian flight company "Trans-Aero" about giving an exclusive discount of 7% for flights back and forth for the customers of the association and also to grant the possibility to change the dates of flight back from Israel without payment.
8. The IMTA association reached an agreement with one of the large credit companies in Israel regarding the possibility to get urgent loans by patients from the commonwealth of independent states, the Caucasus and Baltic countries and also the possibility to effect payment for medical services in case the patients have no possibility to make use of the large international systems of payment and credit.
In the work of the conference not only medical companies participated – members of the Israeli Medical Tourism Association, but also representatives of companies which have not yet decided regarding their future. When the forum ended its work part of them decided to join IMTA. The legal committee on behalf of the association started to take care of the requests received.
However, the main result of the conference is the decision-making of the IMTA association to participate in the work of the ministers' committee of Yael German in order to prepare with joint efforts a basis and criteria for the reform which is necessary already for a long time in the realm of medical tourism and private medicine in Israel.
The Israeli Medical Tourism Association IMTA on the Internet:http://imta.co.il