Who is Legally Responsible for Medical Tourist Liability: Patient, Doctor, or Facilitator?
When you’re a medical facilitator, many factors are not in your control but can jeopardize the quality of your patient’s trip. This can include a wide range of risks such as Deep Vein Thrombosis, which are blood clots that occur when patients fly too soon after surgery, exposure to infectious diseases, or poor healthcare services. Many of these might not be directly related to the services you provide, and things may go wrong even when you take care of every detail and provide the best quality of customer care possible.
When unsatisfied customers file a lawsuit, your company can be vulnerable since you are a huge part of the process. As a start-up, you should put systems and contracts in place that can mitigate your risk and limit your liability in such circumstances. This business is, after all, your property and your livelihood, and you must protect it.
Medical Tourism Facilitator Contracts: Common Mistakes To Avoid When Drafting A Contract
Protect Your Health and Wellness Agency with Ready-Made Contracts and Risk Management Tools:
>Contract Between Facilitator and Hospital
>Facilitator and Patient Agreements
>Patient Pre-Screening and Medical History Form
>Medical Traveler Application
Medical Tourism Agreement Sample and Guidelines
A tool such as medical history form will give you a health profile of the patient, including health-related conditions that could complicate the trip so that in case of any unfortunate circumstances, the blame does not fall on your business.
Agreement with the Client
As a medical facilitator, you are bridging the gap between that patient and the hospital. Since you coordinated the entire trip, your agency can become a target when things don’t go according to plan. Most of the time, the blame lies elsewhere, so it is vital to protect yourself, which is why patient waiver forms and contractual agreements with hospitals are a crucial part of the process.
Through these contracts, you make sure the patient understands the terms and conditions you have placed and the risks involved in the procedure, clearing you of any liability. The patient thus opts to travel for the procedure at their own risk.
Not A Health Care Provider or Medical Professional
MTF Company is not a medical professional and does not have any hired medical professionals working for their company to provide medical advice or make any medical recommendations, before or during my medical trip.
Provides Educational Guidance on Travel and Physicians
This section needs to reflect that all information provided by your company and your staff is strictly for informative and educational guidance and should not be interpreted as medical advice. It would be best to make sure that the client knows that the information you provide is not an alternative for healthcare professionals. The client needs to seek a healthcare provider or healthcare institution they need a medical evaluation. MTC Company coordinates medical trips around the world and may need to collect sensitive information and important documents.
Clauses and Provisions
When the contractual agreements are drawn up, it is essential to pay attention to specific clauses and provisions that can be added to help better protect your business. These clauses help you make sure the client cannot come after you months later and enables you to mitigate your overall risk. Some of these clauses include:
This is a provision that clears your business of any responsibility for losses that might be incurred by the client by individuals or factors out of your business’s control, as the best of businesses cannot anticipate theft or accidents, nor can prevent it.
This clause states that your business does not take any responsibility for any monetary compensation made for the client for loss or injury, for any purpose, apart from the coordination fees that your business was paid.
Providing yourself with limited liability is not about deceiving the patient or blaming them; it is about ensuring no one takes advantage of your vulnerability in this sensitive area of service. There are definite risks involved, and you can become liable if you don’t take proper steps to protect yourself.
Limitation on Actions
This clause helps your business manage its risks by limiting the time for any claims a client wishes to make against you. You are cleared of responsibility after a specific timeframe after the patient returns home.
Since this is a global industry and many different countries are involved with their specific laws and regulations that might be contradictory, this clause is used to specify which governing laws will be used to interpret the Patient Consent in case of a dispute.
Individual Rules of the Country of Travel
Each country has unique laws on healthcare and different rules regarding medical travel. The facilitator must be familiar with the regulations in the destinations they’ll be promoting, so they can provide clients with complete and accurate information.
Client Satisfaction Maintenance
Remember, a client’s health is the focus of this entire partnership, and maintaining a strict focus on the client’s well-being will ensure a good word for your services from a satisfied client. Although this section isn’t a ‘law’ per se, it is a point that should be strictly observed to achieve success in global healthcare.
Payment and Sensitive Information
This section needs to explain that you are in the business of coordinating medical tourism trips for the client, and this may include billing the client and transferring healthcare records to providers.
Client Acknowledges That They Consulted with Doctor About The Medical Trip
The client needs to acknowledge that they consulted their primary doctor about their medical condition and medical tourism trip.
The Client Was Offered Travel/Complication Insurance
There needs to be a section that addresses travel/complication insurance. If the client rejects the insurance, you need to state that the insurance was offered to the client but it was rejected. You also should address the issue of if a complication occurs. This will help to protect you if there are any medical complications on the medical trip.
Patient Acknowledges Risks
The patient needs to acknowledge that they understand the risk of traveling to another country for surgery or other medical procedures. Thus, they still choose to travel for the procedure at their own risk.
This clause is meant to inform the client of the benefits and risks of seeking medical care abroad. It covers all the possible dangers regarding medical treatment and the consequences of traveling after the procedure.
This language is especially beneficial for facilitators because it frees them from a wide range of liabilities.
There needs to be a section where the patient acknowledges that you have not made any guarantees or promises regarding this medical trip or outcome from the medical procedure.
Establishing an agreement between the healthcare provider, patient, facilitator, and any other entity or individual involved in the medical trip is vital. A solid contractual agreement can protect the facilitator from any financial setbacks and ensures timely payment.
*These pre-made agreements were drafted by legal professionals and individuals experienced in the medical tourism industry but are only examples to be used as guidance for medical tourism facilitators, healthcare providers, and the clients they serve. As an example, the contract may not meet the needs of your circumstances and must not be relied on as legal advice or guidance. Any recipient of these forms should seek legal counsel or other professional guidance to ensure their rights are protected. No attorney-client relationship or other fiduciary relationship of any kind is created between the recipient of these forms and the provider of these forms, its drafters, users, or any other related entities. The provider of these forms expressly disclaims any liability for errors, omission, or any other direct or indirect results arising from its use.