Repatriating patients to hospitals where their family physicians have hospital privileges allows for continuity of care. This can result in fewer tests and investigations ordered, shorter stays, and higher patient satisfaction. Many patients hope their insurer will take over the cost of medical repatriation, but this depends on the terms and conditions of each coverage policy.

Patient’s Health

Whether on business or vacation, it’s possible to become seriously ill or injured during travel. When this happens, medical repatriation is returning home to receive treatment. Understanding medical repatriation: What you need to know is essential. One of the most critical considerations in medical repatriation planning is determining if the patient can fly. This is true for repatriation flights that use ambulance aircraft or regular commercial airliners. Another important consideration is to know who the patient’s family practitioner is so that a hospital can ensure that the patient will be admitted to a hospital that has active privileges for the patient. This will minimize the risk of patients being sent to inappropriate hospitals and wasting healthcare resources. Sometimes, their insurance company considers a patient’s repatriation medically necessary. Often, this is because the quality of healthcare in their destination country cannot be guaranteed, and the patient would be at significant risk of death if they were not repatriated.

Insurance Coverage

Many people who travel for work or vacation find themselves sick or injured outside their home country. This is when medical repatriation services are most needed. This service, also known as medical evacuation or MEDEVAC, transports patients to a better-equipped facility to treat their condition. An insurance company typically coordinates it through an international assistance number. They will work with doctors on-site to determine whether or not medical repatriation is necessary. Many international health plans include coverage for medical repatriation and medical evacuation. However, knowing precisely what your coverage includes is essential to prepare for an emergency abroad. For example, some supplemental insurance policies exclude certain countries, while others have stringent requirements for reimbursement of the cost of repatriation. This is why it is essential to call your supplemental insurance provider and ask about the specifics of your coverage before traveling overseas.

Transport Options

As international travel for business and leisure has returned to pre-pandemic levels, the demand for medical repatriation has risen. Patients who suffer an illness or injury during their trip will want to be transported home quickly to receive appropriate care from in-network providers. The simplest way to transport your loved one home is with an air ambulance plane, a MEDEVAC. Unlike scheduled airlines, medically equipped planes have space for stretchers and can accommodate patients needing intensive care. Alternatively, your family can arrange to travel in business class on a scheduled airline flight. In this case, your medical repatriation company will help you obtain airline medical clearances and assist with obtaining travel documents and approvals. It is important to note that scheduled airlines reserve the right to refuse transportation if they determine there is a risk to the safety of their passengers or crew. Moreover, it is typically impossible to transport a patient on connecting flights.

Relocation Options

As resettlement assistance, like repatriation assistance, is essentially a loan, HHS cannot force an individual to resettle in a location against their wishes. However, posts may request that individuals who wish to resettle in a state other than their legal domicile provide a written justification for the chosen location (e.g., proximity to family members, better access to treatment, etc.). Posts should report to CA/OCS/ACS on the status of any troubled repatriates, particularly those exhibiting violent behavior or who have existing severe medical conditions that need attention. This information helps CA/OCS/ACS keep HHS fully informed. Successful repatriation will depend, in part, on ensuring that individuals return to places where they can feel safe and secure. Efforts to improve security, such as amnesties, waiver of prosecution, repeal of harsh laws, or efforts to encourage reconciliation between rival groups, should be taken into account by those responsible for planning repatriation. This may include evaluating the feasibility of a return to previously dangerous areas before large-scale evacuations.

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