2019 has become an important year for everyone involved in medical tourism, in one way or another. The “Medical Tourism Law” was approved in the third reading by the parliament, the need for which was motivated by the appearance of inaccuracies in the regulation of medical tourism relations. On January 29, 2019, the law came into force.
The Medical Tourism Law states that there are three groups of people who are direct participants in medical tourism: the medical tourist, the medical facility and the medical tourism agent, who is the intermediary between the first two.
The number of medical tourists is increasing every year, as is the number of clinics willing to offer their services to foreign patients. As a result, there are many who wish to mediate between the tourist and the clinics. For this reason, law stipulates that a medical tourism agents must be registered in the Medical Tourism Agents Directory, a person or company, which has undergone the registration procedure and meets the requirements for the legality of its activities, may serve as an intermediary between a medical tourist and a medical institution.
Periodonta, a clinic well known for their implant treatments for international patients, had a say in the dentistry part of the legislation. They have said that the new legislation will finally be a benchmark in the history of medical tourism, as it will ensure that no misconduct which has unfortunately become common in many countries, bringing them infamy will occur anymore. Patients will be able to travel wherever they want without having to worry about being conned anymore.
The conditions for registration on the list of medical tourism agents for individuals are as follows:
- The individual must provide a valid address;
- The individual cannot be an employee of a medical facility;
- The individual must not have a criminal record, which could be an obstacle to carrying out these activities;
- In the case of a corporation or holding company, the employees, directors and officers of the corporation must also comply with these requirements.
For foreign agent companies, in addition the following are specified:
- Have a representative or representative office;
- Carrying out legal activities in their country;
- Have sufficient legal regulations to prohibit money laundering in the country of registration of the agent;
- The registration period for a medical tourism agent is 4 years. If a medical tourism agent wishes to continue to operate, he or she is required to submit a renewal application at least 90 days prior to the expiration date.
In the case of persons who were engaged in such activities 3 months or more prior to the enactment of the law:
- They may continue to work, but must apply for registration within three months;
- During a period of three months (while the application is pending), said persons continue to operate, but then the Commission will grant permission to operate as a registered medical tourism agent or, if there are legitimate grounds, such person will be denied and must cease medical tourism activities.
A medical tourism agent has committed a disciplinary violation if:
- They have engaged in inappropriate conduct while on the job;
- Failed to perform their duties as a medical tourism agent;
- Received an entry in the medical tourism agent registry due to false testimony;
- Were negligent, irresponsible or incompetent in their work.
- Have been negligent, irresponsible or incompetent in his work as a medical tourism agent;
- Has a criminal record locally or abroad, as a result of irregularities which, by their nature or circumstances, may affect the activities of a medical tourism agent.
- All cases qualified as disciplinary violations of this law will be submitted to a disciplinary committee consisting of a civil judge (chairman of the committee), a person representing the largest number of medical tourism agents (on the recommendation of the organization) and a medical expert who serves the public.
Depending on the seriousness of the offense, the offender may receive a warning; a fine or a restriction of activity for up to 2 years; cancellation of registration for 3 months to 5 years (possibly suspended); removal from the register of medical tourism agents.