Will Russia manage to reduce the number of outbound patients?

Alla Rezina in The Council of the Federation

Alla Rezina, Marketing Director of Medical Tourism Agencies Association, took part in the Ist International Medical Investment Forum in Moscow, March 29, 2018.

As one of the keynote speakers, she made a presentation “Effective channels for attracting inbound patients, based on foreign experience”.

She also demonstrated a new IT-solution — the EasyCase service, which helps to automate work with patients offers and clinics.

All in all, there were about 70 participants including 13 speakers.

In the course of discussions, the next issues were raised: interaction of government and business, advantages and disadvantages of Russia on the medical tourism market, the efficiency of medical export services.

The Association advanced a proposal of supporting the process of Russian clinics accreditation, professional liability insurance, and medical error disclosure and also special visas for medical tourists.

The Forum gathered representatives of the insurance companies, federal hospitals, medical tourism agencies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Healthcare, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Economic Development, Department of the International Cooperation and Public Relations, The Council of the Federation, and etc.

The aim of the Forum was to put together the proposals from the business and state authorities for fruitful cooperation.

The key issues for the business were:

Statistic Data

There is a huge divergence in statistics about the inbound and outbound tourism due to the fact that we have no common method of counting that is to say that our statistics are based on the indirect data.

Specifics of legislation

“Russian insurance companies can work with the foreign patients”, said Oleg Merkulov, Deputy General Director, Business Development of the insurance company VTB “Strahovanie”. “There is no regulatory framework in our legislation for working with foreign patients in Russia. We have neither visas nor legal guarantees for an emergency case for foreigners”.

Even the VTB “Strahovanie”, the largest market player, sends just a few patients per year. The main problem is a divergence in areas of responsibility of insurance companies in Russia and abroad.

A lot of clinics do not work with agencies in Russia yet

“The Russian clinics are not ready for business cooperation with agencies”, said Tatiana Sokolov, director of the “Medica Tour” agency. “They are not following the way of the foreign clinics”.

The lack of medical visas

Despite the fact that many speakers mentioned the lack of the special medical visas for foreign patients, Deputy of Foreign Secretary Eugene Ivanov replied that “according to Ministry, there are no reasons for the visas because since according to 2017 data from the issued 2.6 million visas only 2162 visas were for medical purposes”.

The second part of the Forum is planned for November 29, 2018. The Association is waiting that the state authorities will prepare the list of practical measures for the developing of inbound medical tourism in the nearest time.

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