In the spring of 2019, regional project “Medical Service Export Development” was launched in the Voronezh Region as part of the national project “Healthcare”. By the end of the year, 190 foreigners will receive paid medical care in 14 large hospitals and clinics in Voronezh. By 2024, the volume of medical service export is planned to be increased by several times.

For more information about how medical tourism is going to be developed in the region and how physicians want to attract foreigners, read in the RIA Voronezh article.

How foreigners are treated in the Voronezh Region now

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According to Gennady Kretinin, Advisor to the Department of Medical Aid to Adults of the Regional Department of Health Care, citizens of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, as well as students from Nigeria and India most often receive medical aid among foreigners. In total, in 2018, 2 thousand foreigners have received emergency medical care in the Voronezh region, 11 thousand, and 1.6 thousand - urgent emergency care.

According to preliminary data, in the five months of 2019, 789 foreigners received emergency medical care, 3 thousand have received scheduled medical care, and 349 - urgent emergency care. Over 16 million rubles were transferred to medical organizations of the region for these services.

– Foreign citizens can receive urgent emergency care free of charge under acute conditions or exacerbations of chronic diseases, – the adviser to the regional health department noted.

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Scheduled and emergency care is provided to foreigners on the basis of agreements on paid medical services as part of compulsory (CMI) or voluntary medical insurance (VMI).

– If a contract for the provision of paid medical services is drawn up, the patient contributes money for himself. Under CMI or VHI, the services are paid for by the insurance company. Foreign citizens can receive medical care on the basis of CMI, if they are living in the Russian Federation temporarily – as a rule, these are working people. And under VHI, the patient enters into an agreement with an insurance company, and the treatment fee is paid in accordance with it. When an insured event occurs, the insurance company pays for the treatment, – Gennady Kretinin explained.

Where foreigners will be offered treatment

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The target indicator of regional project “Medical Service Export Development”, defined by the Ministry of Health Care, is the number of foreigners who have received medical aid in state institutions. The Regional Department of Health Care has selected 14 medical organizations to participate in the implementation of the regional project. It is planned that 190 foreigners will receive paid services in them in 2019, and already 470 - in 2024.

As demonstrated by the monitoring conducted in 2018 and five months of 2019, even now, the number of foreigners using the services of hospitals and clinics in the region is several times bigger than it is planned under the regional project. However, the initial task of the national project is to develop a mechanism that will attract even more foreigners to Voronezh medical facilities. That is why they have chosen the organizations to which foreigners turn most often.

The project includes the Regional Clinical Hospital №1, the Regional Clinical Consultative and Diagnostic Center, the City Clinical Emergency Medical Aid Hospital (BSMP) №1, Regional Children's Clinical Hospitals №1 and №2, the Regional Clinical Ophthalmological Hospital, the Regional Clinical Oncology Center and other large medical facilities in Voronezh.

– These are the most equipped medical organizations and, therefore, attractive to all citizens, including foreign ones. I believe that our region is quite well-developed in providing high-tech medical aid. We are ahead of all neighboring regions. The Voronezh Region is in the leading position in the Black Soil Region, and Moscow and the Moscow Region are the only ones that can compete with it, – Gennady Kretinin said.

In order to make foreigners go to Voronezh for treatment, the department will inform potential patients about medical facilities in the region and their profiles via the Internet and social networks, as well as foreign embassies.

– If a foreign citizen wants to get paid treatment, there are no special requirements: he can go directly to the hospital. Each medical institution has a tariff for paid services, and it is the same for both Russians and foreigners, – Gennady Kretinin noted.

What medical services tourists from abroad will receive in the Voronezh Region

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According to Gennady Kretinin, the department will focus on the types of medical services that are most developed in the Voronezh Region.

– This includes, first of all, cardiology and cardiac surgery. There is an interregional surgical center under the Regional Clinical Hospital, which has long been providing medical care to residents of the Voronezh Region and the surrounding regions, as well as foreign citizens, – the adviser said.

More than 3 thousand surgeries on the heart and its vessels are performed annually at the Interregional Surgical Center. About 800 operations are performed on an open heart, about 780 – by using the cardiopulmonary bypass. About 500 coronal bypass surgeries and 600 pacemaker implantations are performed each year.

– Another promising area is traumatology and orthopedics at the regional hospital, BSMP №1 and №10. If we talk about advanced methods of treatment, then we need to mention the replacement of the hip and knee joints. It is currently in demand, we have developed a method of implanting endoprostheses under the control of computer navigation. It means that special equipment controls the process of implanting the endoprosthesis, thereby achieving its most physiological allocation, – Gennady Kretinin told.

Doctors also hope to attract foreign citizens to the Regional Ophthalmological Hospital, where 16 thousand eye surgeries are performed annually, with 99% of them being microsurgeries. Among the popular ones are laser correction of myopia and astigmatism. About 300 of such eye correction surgeries are performed each year. In total, more than 1 thousand laser surgeries are performed annually.

– Ophthalmological centers of the neighboring regions, of course, compete with us in this regard. However, patients are coming to us. It will be advisable to develop this field for foreigners as well, – the health care department adviser thinks.

Do Voronezh citizens go for treatment to other regions?

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According to Gennady Kretinin, the main thing is to develop modern trends in Voronezh medical organizations so that they are attractive to both local residents and foreigners. The Department of Health Care monitors the visits of Voronezh residents to other regions for medical services and directs them for treatment when there are indications to it.

– The decision is made not by one doctor, but by a medical committee. The state guarantee program, which regulates the procedure for providing free medical care, is of great importance. Paid services are hard to control: the patient decides for himself, so if he wants to, he goes. We cannot interfere, but we inform the patient where he can receive treatment in regional medical organizations and to what extent, – Gennady Kretinin noted.

The most common reason a patient travels from the region to federal medical organizations is certain types of high-tech medical care (HMC), which cannot be provided in Voronezh, where about 20 types of HMC are provided.

– The provision of high-tech medical care can be paid for both from the CMI fund and from the budget. It all depends on the type of HMC. If the patient is traveling to receive the type of medical care paid for from the budget, he takes a referral via the information-analytical system of the Ministry of Health Care and through the department. If the medical service is paid for via the CMI, the medical organization can write out a referral to outside the region bypassing the department, – Gennady Kretinin explained.

In 2018, medical aid outside the region was received by 1250 residents of the Voronezh Region at the expense of CMI funds, which is by 5% more than in 2017. In 2018, 2412 patients, including 650 children, were treated at the expense of the budget outside the region. According to the adviser, if we compare these figures with the volumes of HMC provision in Voronezh medical institutions, there is no reason for concern. The region demonstrates annual growth: while 4.5 thousand people received HMC in 2012, it was already 12 thousand people in 2018.

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The context

According to Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Veronika Skvortsova, in 2016 and 2017, the number of foreign patients in Russian hospitals had increased from 20 thousand to 110 thousand people. In 2017, this allowed attracting an additional $ 250 million into the Russian healthcare system.

Starting in 2020, a new program of continuing professional education will be launched in Voronezh and will train specialists in medical tourism. The preparation will be carried out by the Voronezh State University together with the French Higher School of Tourism of the city of Turois.