SZV explains rights and duties of patients and companions | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Social and Health Insurances SZV hosted a live recording session on its Facebook page on the topic “Rights and duties of patients and companions when on medical referral abroad.”

The speakers of the session were SZV Customer Service and Communications Unit Manager Parveen Boertje and Operations Unit Interim Manager Reginald Willemsberg.
“The service of medical referrals abroad by SZV is a very important one, where many misconceptions are discussed within the community. SZV opted for a Facebook live broadcast to ensure that the correct information is communicated, directly to its customers and to allow for easy replay of the recording and information sharing.

“It is very important to us that our customers take a leading role in their wellbeing before, during and after a medical referral abroad. By highlighting these rights and duties, we aim to empower our customers,” said Willemsberg.
The Facebook Live session is available on SZV’s Facebook page and its website

The main rights of the SZV insured patient referred abroad are to receive medical care and to participate in discussions regarding his or her care; to receive information about the care given in a way that the patient understands; to obtain a copy of his/her medical records; and to report any concerns regarding his/her care and safety to the hospital or third-party logistics coordinator abroad.

Willemsberg also explained during the session that “the treating physician initiates the medical referral process.” The role of the physician includes responsibility for the continuity of care of the patient/insured and the responsibility to ensure that the patient’s illness, condition and level of urgency are accurately reported to SZV.

The referral process is delayed when a submitted request report is not complete or required information not clearly communicated,” stated Willemsberg.
He gave several examples of cases encountered by SZV and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour of patients and companions. The policy of SZV states the consequences of non-adherence to the set obligations, common practice of medical insurance companies and health care providers.

Patients referred abroad have their rights and duties explained to them and are requested to acknowledge receipt of this during their intake meeting. The non-adherence clause in the policy reads, “Repeated (two or more) documented reports of inappropriate behaviour will result in termination of your treatment abroad and that you then will lose all rights to receive compensation for further medical treatment for the condition for which you were sent abroad.”

Obligations for both patients and companions also highlighted during the session were to have a valid passport and obtain the necessary visas (if applicable); to have a valid SZV insurance card; to travel with the medical file and at least one month of medication used; to behave appropriately and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the third-party logistics coordinators, hospital, hotels, and with the laws of the designated country for treatment abroad.

They also are required “to not smoke in the hotels and hospitals, to not buy and use illegal drugs, and to not bring prostitutes and other guests to the apartment or hotel room, to treat the third-party logistics coordinators, the hospital, medical staff (doctors, nurses) and hotel staff with respect,” according to the policy guidelines.

Based on the medical indication, an SZV insured patient who is referred abroad may have the right to have a companion travel with him/her.
The companion has obligations to adhere to when complying for this task. During the broadcast a list of these were outlined, with special attention to ensuring “that you have medical travel insurance, to request and receive approval for vacation days from your employer for the trip abroad. SZV does not provide sick-leave compensation for companions,” said Willemsberg.

Companions must accompany the insured to all doctors’ and treatment appointments where indicated and, if the insured is hospitalised, must stay with the insured or visit at least once a day for three hours or twice a day. Another important role of the companion is to communicate with and update the family of the insured regarding the medical condition or concerns of the insured and to provide moral support for the insured.
Willemsberg also touched on the role and type of service provided by the SZV medical referrals division. “This team is responsible for patient engagement and customer service.” Once a medical referral abroad request is approved, patients and companions have their mandatory intake meeting at SZV. It is of utmost importance that this meeting is attended when invited.

Locally, the team is mainly tasked with logistical and administrative activities such as calling the client to schedule appointments, appointment-reminder calls and relaying of information to the client regarding his/her individual medical referral.
Boertje delivered her speech on the complaint procedure, contacting SZV and self-service options for clients. The complaint procedure for medical referrals abroad offers various options for clients.

“When abroad and with a complaint regarding the medical or services received, the first point of contact is the designated health care provider abroad or the international office.
“During your intake meeting at SZV you will receive the contact details of this person/team. This contact is the contact that will be able to address and process your complaint for you,” stated Boertje.
Clients also have the option to file a complaint via the complaint form on the website Clients who are unable to file a complaint online can contact SZV to make an appointment with the complaint officer.

Boertje closed the session by saying, “With the collaborative effort of our partner stakeholders and customers, we at SZV can serve our client optimally. This is a collective task. SZV has expanded its access points for customers by being available via different channels such as its website , Facebook page and e-mail. Customers are welcome to call or visit the office, but are encouraged to make use of the online tools for easy self-service access to SZV.”

Source: The Daily Herald