Traveling for Healthcare

By Taylor Smith

Patients have different reasons for traveling for healthcare. Some may be in search of the latest technology while others are seeking out particular specialists. No matter the reason, traveling out of state gives patients treatment options beyond their local medical center.

Clinical studies show that the best outcomes for patients with life-threatening illnesses occur at hospitals with the most experienced surgeons and staff. While there are many excellent surgeons in the United States, the greatest expertise can be found at facilities handling large numbers of patients with the same illness. By choosing to have treatment at these facilities, you are increasing your chances for the best result.

Prior to your visit to a facility that may not be local, it is important to contact a hospital representative. Besides verifying insurance benefits, they will connect you to the hospital’s concierge services. Many of the hospitals mentioned below anticipate that patients will be traveling with a companion. Since many family members of patients need extended stay options, the concierge will make suggestions as to which nearby hotels provide extended stay, patient services, and convenient shuttles to the hospital.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has negotiated special rates and amenities at Manhattan-based hotels for patients, families, and caregivers.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore can provide spouses and family members with furnished housing within two to five minutes of the hospital for anywhere from several weeks to a few months. These townhomes and apartments vary in price according to amenities (such as cleaning services and recreational facilities).

If you are traveling by yourself, the concierge at Cleveland Clinic will arrange for a hospital staff member to meet you at the airport and bring you directly to the hospital. Cleveland Clinic’s Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute is frequently ranked as the number one heart program in the United States (US News Media Group’s “Best Hospitals List”). These doctors comprise the largest heart and vascular program in the country, and because they treat millions of patients, their doctors have a great deal of experience with every form of cardiovascular disease.

Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina is another high-ranking cardiology and heart surgery hospital. It maintains one of the nation’s largest heart transplant programs and offers more heart disease treatment options than most other hospitals worldwide.

When people think of cancer treatment, they often think of the Mayo Clinic, which has major campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida. At their discretion, airlines sometimes offer special discounts for people traveling to the Mayo Clinic. You will need to contact the direct airline for details. The Mayo Clinic’s International Services ensures that distance and language are not obstacles to effective treatment (according to Mayo Clinic’s “Patient and Visitor Guide” found at www.mayoclinic.org). Hospital representatives are conversant in a number of languages, including Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic.

The Massachusetts General Hospital of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service in Boston has provided world-class athletes with the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and chronic pain caused by onfield injuries. They are ranked as one of the top programs for the treatment of chronic pain, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and stroke (US News Media Group’s “Best Hospitals List”). Located in downtown Boston, the hospital is easily accessed from Boston Logan International Airport and public transportation. The concierge at Massachusetts General Hospital is able to provide recommendations on everything from restaurants to local attractions.

Also, in Boston, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a forerunner in gynecology and obstetrics. At their Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health, they provide lifesaving treatment for high-risk pregnancies and fetal diseases. Accessibility is very important at Brigham. Their Patient Gateway program allows patients and family members to schedule appointments, receive test results, request insurance referrals, and monitor prescription renewals, all through a free, easy-to-use online account.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) has hospital locations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois, Phoenix, Arizona, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nearly 70 percent of CTCA patients travel to one of these hospitals from another state. The staff at CTCA is committed to planning every part of a patient’s travel and treatment, from gathering medical records to scheduling appointments and booking travel and lodging. For certain patients, CTCA will cover the cost of the flight/train ride. They also offer on- and off-site guest rooms at reduced rates. Complimentary transportation services are offered from most lodging sites to the hospital.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is ranked in the top-tier nationally in 10 pediatric specialties. They treat infants, children, teens, and young adults. CHOP has created dozens of specialty programs for rare disorders. They also pride themselves in offering family-centered care. This means that parents and family members are encouraged to participate in their child’s treatment as much as they wish. CHOP also offers numerous family support services to help individuals to cope with the anxieties of their healthcare journey.

Resources:

US News Media Group’s “Best Hospitals List 2014-15” http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center www.mskcc.org

The Johns Hopkins Hospital www.hopkinsmedicine.org/the_johns_ hopkins_hospital

Cleveland Clinic http://my.clevelandclinic.org

Duke University Hospital www.dukemedicine.org/locations/dukeuniversity-hospital

Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.org

The Massachusetts General Hospital of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service www.massgeneral.org/pmr

Brigham and Women’s Hospital www.brighamandwomens.org

Cancer Treatment Centers of America www.cancercenter.com

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia www.chop.edu