The Global Healthcare Accreditation Program Issues COVID-19 Guidelines and Certification for Medical Travel Programs

July 9, 2020

Palm Beach Gardens, FL, July 8, 2020 --(— The Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA) Program for Medical Travel Services has announced the release of COVID-19 Guidelines for Medical Travel Programs to assist organizations in the medical tourism industry seeking to mitigate the risk of infection for traveling patients and their companions. The guidelines are unique in that they focus on the entire care continuum, including providing guidance for travel, as well as interactions with the healthcare organization, hotel and ground transportation.

In addition to making the COVID-19 Guidelines for Medical Travel Programs available publicly, GHA will offer a voluntary Certification of Conformance for hospitals and ambulatory centers that wish to validate compliance against the guidelines, as well as GHA training for healthcare and medical travel professionals on the guidelines. 

“Like most industries, medical tourism has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and is only now seeing small signs of recovery,” said Laurent Pochat-Cottilloux, Global Head of Health Reinsurance Partnerships for AXA. “For medical travel programs to succeed in this new environment, they must adopt new modalities and protocols for healthcare delivery that mitigate the risk ofCOVID-19 infections across the care continuum, and, just as importantly, communicate these to traveling patients and other payers to build confidence and trust. The COVID-19 Guidelines issued by GHA will support this effort by assisting organizations in implementing COVID-19 protocols that address the unique vulnerabilities of the medical travel patient.”

The Certification of Conformance for hospitals and ambulatory centers will signal to medical travelers and other payers that the organization has implemented the recommendations in the guidelines as a proactive risk mitigation strategy to ensure patient safety and wellbeing during and post-COVID-19.

According to Ms. Karen Timmons, GHA’s Chief Executive Officer, “The COVID-19 Guidelines for Medical Travel Programs cover the entire medical travel care continuum and were developed using relevant GHAAccreditation Standards and other authoritative sources. They focus on critical items for review and consideration before medical travel programs reopen or as they return to normal. Our intent is that the GHA Seal for Certification of Conformance provides trust and confidence for patients and their families traveling for care or treatment.”  

Dr. Joong H Choh, Director of the International HealthcareCenter at Seoul National University Hospital Bundang, stated, “COVID-19 has had a serious impact on medical travel patient volume to South Korea; however, through past experience gained with infectious diseases such as MERS and SARS, we were well prepared and acted quickly as a country and as a hospital to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The protocols we have in place to detect, contain and treat patients with coronavirus have been recognized globally and we welcome the addition of GHA’s COVID-19 Guidelines which focus on mitigating the risk of infection specifically for medical travel patients and their companions.”

 View the press release here