Everything you need to know about treatment in Barcelona


What type of patients do we work with?

We provide hospitals healthcare service organization for foreign patients. Our work gives us the opportunity to meet patients from over 30 countries who choose Spain as their country for treatment. We mostly receive patients from Eastern or Persian Gulf countries, although our clients also include citizens from other countries in Europe, the United States and Latin America.

We work both with private patients, who contact us directly, as well as with corporate patients, that is, patients or clients from a range of organizations. These patients are children and adults whose treatment is paid for by charitable foundations, foreign corporate insurers or companies that offer health packages to senior management.

We can provide services in response to any type of disease, and have worked with a significant number of adult oncology, pediatric oncology, complex pediatric surgery and neurorehabilitation cases in recent years. We do not work with patients who are residents in Spain and want to receive treatment through an insurance policy taken out in Spain. Nor do we work with patients who want to be treated outside of Spain. We specialize in treatment organization in Barcelona, and while we can also help coordinate treatment in other Spanish cities, our particular expertise is in Barcelona, Spain’s medical capital

How can a foreign patient receive treatment in Barcelona?

There are two main types of services for foreign patients:

Emergency medical assistance for tourists in the case of accident or illness. If a tourist (who has travel insurance or a health insurance plan that includes travel) has an emergency due to an accident or an illness during their stay in Spain (for example, car accident, heart attack, stroke, high fever, etc.), the policy holder can use this insurance to pay for the expenses related to emergency medical attention. The TSE takes care of these expenses for EU patients who receive emergency treatment in Spanish public hospitals. For many tourists who visit from outside the EU, buying travel insurance is required for obtaining a visa: the policy covers emergency treatment in these cases. The toll-free number for emergency medical assistance in Spain is 112 (calls can be answered in the most common languages). As a general rule, it’s important to remember that all Spanish hospitals, both public and private, will always treat a tourist in life-threatening emergencies, later requesting payment for the care received. As a result, we recommend buying medical or travel insurance before visiting the country.

Scheduled treatment. If a patient in his/her country is diagnosed with a serious illness, and the patient prefers to receive more qualified medical treatment in Spain, the patient can choose from among the country’s private hospitals, since public hospitals exclusively provide scheduled treatments to Spanish citizens. There are several highly specialized private hospitals in Barcelona, and, of course, when it comes to dealing with very complex cases, we recommend choosing the hospital with the best scientific and clinical reputation in that specific specialty. In this case, the patient or sponsoring organization (charitable foundation or the patient’s employer, if it provides a medical assistance program for its employees abroad) bears the cost of the treatment received according to the rates for foreign private patients.

A foreign patient can request treatment directly from the hospital (when the patient knows which hospital and which specialist is best for his/her particular case), from a company specialized in medical tourism, or from BMC. Treatment cost is the same, regardless of which of these three options (hospital, agent or BMC) the patient chooses. However, the range of services the patient receives varies.

How much does treatment cost in Spain?

A number of factors influence the cost of treatment in Spain, primarily the reputation of both the medical institution and the attending specialist.

For example, the rates that different surgeons charge for performing the same operation can almost double, according to the experience and qualification of the specialist. If you’re looking for the best specialists in Barcelona’s hospitals, treatment cost will often be quite comparable to the cost in other European countries (Germany, France, etc.). However, there are several highly complex procedures (transplants, for example) that are much less expensive in Spain compared to countries like Germany and France.

That said, there are several significant advantages in terms of treatment costs in Spain:

First. In all our experience (and we have treated several thousand patients over the years), the final cost of treatment is higher than the initial estimate in only a handful of cases. Moreover, we’ve seen more cases in which the final treatment cost is lower than the hospital’s initial estimate. In any event, the difference between what the patient expected and the final bill is almost always insignificant. This speaks to extremely thorough case assessment and a serious approach to program and estimate planning by most hospitals.

The second advantage is that, in general, the cost estimates from Spain’s major hospitals are transparent, with no hidden costs that the patient isn’t informed of from the start. Moreover, in many cases the estimate is calculated as a “set package”, based either on average cost or taking into account the maximum number of services carried out. For example, if you receive a €17,000 estimate from the city’s leading center in neurorehabilitation on an inpatient basis, you can be absolutely sure that the cost quoted truly includes ALL the procedures you need. No extra surcharges will be applied if, over the course of treatment, the doctors determine that you need to exercise in the hospital pool or take classes in the computer room, for example.

The cost of a scheduled treatment for a foreign private patient is slightly higher than the cost for a private Spanish patient (approximately 10-15%) at most hospitals in Spain. This is understandable: the hospital has to hire additional staff (assistants and nurses who speak other languages, often a concierge service and other additional services such as medical report translations, etc.) to provide foreign patient services either directly or through third-party providers.

Important: when a patient seeks a scheduled treatment, the hospital will draw up a preliminary estimate for your treatment (the estimate will be provided with the official hospital letterhead). This initial estimate may change if the patient is required to spend more time (hours/days) in the operating room or ICU, for example, or if a specific prosthesis needs to be replaced with another, etc. However, the final cost is the same as the amount quoted in the majority of cases (approximately 95% of the time).

While many hospitals in Spain request payment for diagnostic tests and outpatient therapeutic procedures after their completion, all hospitals will require an advance payment of 100% of the estimate before admission or surgery. Should the patient require fewer days in the hospital than originally planned, the cost difference will be refunded (to the same bank account that paid for the treatment and often by the end of the month) upon discharge.

What are the rates for BMC’s services?

The way we work means that Barcelona hospitals, not the patients, pay for our services. An estimate is created when a foreign patient contacts the hospital’s international department for treatment. This official estimate will always be the same, regardless of whether the patient contacts the hospital administration directly or requests a treatment program or estimate through our company, BMC, or through a medical tourism agency in the patient’s home country.

If you process your request through BMC, the hospital will take into account the number of patients we serve when providing monthly payment for our work.

We receive hospital payment for the comprehensive support services we provide to patients:

  • Justified and well-informed choice of the best specialist/team in any medical specialty.
  • Fast and friendly communication in the patient’s native language during the trip-planning phase.
  • Free skilled translation of medical information (both received and sent).
  • Support in seeking financial aid for children from low-income families.
  • Management of administrative procedures.
  • Fast and efficient solution to logistical problems.
  • Trusted intermediary between the patient and medical institutions.
  • 24/7/365 support in the patient’s native language.

Medical services are always paid by bank transfer or at the hospital’s billing department upon admission or on the same day as any tests or appointments.

And now something that’s important for both of us: what additional services is the patient guaranteed if he/she works with BMC instead of directly with the hospital? We answer in detail below.

We handle the international representation and management of a majority of international cases treated at the hospitals with which we work. Although we participate in several charity programs, we are not a non-profit organization and we receive compensation from the hospital for our work, which is crucial for maintaining our business structure: the most up-to-date secure data exchange and computer service in the market, coordinators available to answer your questions 24/7/365, translators to translate your documents, etc.

Only one service provided by our staff requires payment and can be requested by the patient, his/her family or the organization that pays for treatment: medical interpretation services and the translation of medical documents (longer than a printed page) after treatment in Barcelona.

How does BMC help organize medical treatment? What can the company do that the hospital doesn’t or that I can’t do myself?

Regardless of whether BMC works with a private or corporate patient, once the patient enters into its care, BMC becomes responsible for providing solutions to a series of problems that are difficult to solve directly with hospital administration without the help of an expert in Spain’s hospital field.

These issues include: 

  • Justified and well-informed choice of the best specialist/team in any medical specialty.

Anyone can search for advice on Google, of course, but we all know there is still no single source of reliable information for choosing the best specialist for a particular disease. On the other hand, patients who contact the hospital directly should keep in mind that the hospital administration will always tend to assign one of its own specialists, regardless of whether another hospital in Barcelona has a more specialized unit/team for your particular case.

We harness all the tools available today to determine the best hospital and specialist for the treatment of each specific case and we offer the patient thorough, quality information on the achievements of the scientific and clinical team that we suggest (starting with their CV, PubMed figures, surgical statistics or the statistics for similar treatments performed, etc.). In all our years of work, we’ve come to the realization that there is no single ranking or scale that provides an irrefutable and definitive answer. Therefore, we compare all the data from rankings, scales and publications with a simple yet effective factor: the specialist’s reputation among his/her professional colleagues and fellow specialists. Naturally, we also take into account the testimonies of many of our patients who have undergone similar treatment.

When a patient comes to us for guidance, we make a clear and precise case for why we recommend a particular hospital and specialist. We have worked with all of Barcelona’s top hospitals for years and are an effective and skilled intermediary for any type of case.

  • Fast and friendly communication in the patient’s native language during the trip-planning phase.

All reputable hospitals provide assistants/interpreters in the most common languages. In some hospitals, assistants/interpreters only accompany the patient during doctor appointments. In others, they also respond to requests sent by foreign patients. In either case, there’s an important factor that foreign patients should consider: assistants/interpreters who respond to requests in the patients’ language or accompany them during doctor appointments are hospital administration staff. As such, they have a range of other responsibilities, and naturally have to serve a considerable number of patients at the same time while following the administration’s regular work schedule.

As a result, requests to schedule a first appointment will, of course, be immediately addressed by hospital staff. But when it comes to urgently preparing a complex treatment program that includes an estimate for treatment cost and all the personalized logistical details involved, hospitals cannot be expected to be as fully implicated in each individual case.

The highly specialized structure of BMC, on the other hand, focuses precisely on these same issues and can provide direct communication with specialists in record time while ensuring help with logistics-related problems. And all in the patient’s native language and with round-the-clock availability (holidays included). We are in constant communication with the patient, our fast and friendly service making everything easier and quicker.

  • Free skilled translation of medical information (both received and sent).

Although Barcelona’s largest hospitals have translators and interpreters on staff to help patients during their stay, most clinics only accept medical documents in English, Spanish and Catalan. If your medical history and test results are in another language, you’ll be required to find a service in your country that can translate your documents properly. If you contract BMC, we take all translation worries off your hands and provide professional medical translations. This service is free for the patient, which means that you save not only money, but something even more important: time. We guarantee a quick turnaround in just 12 hours from the moment we receive your medical documentation until we submit the translated record to a secure portal to which only the specialist assigned to your case (and our team) has access. ·

  • Support in seeking financial aid for children from low-income families.

BMC works with a large group of charitable foundations in several countries and has earned a solid reputation as a reliable partner over the years. In those cases in which a series of mandatory criteria and standards have been exceeded (for example, cases in which a child has a medical issue that cannot be treated in his/her country of origin, or the parents submit documents that certify that they are unable to financially pay for the cost of treatment abroad) we seek out another organization willing to offer help with the treatment cost. We also participate in several charity programs in Barcelona, helping families find free accommodation, for example, or organizing free interpreters at a fraction of the cost for families whose child is receiving treatment for a serious illness in Barcelona. This has also led us to create a charity program to ensure this type of help for children from Eastern countries who come to Barcelona for the surgical treatment of serious heart diseases.  ·

  • Management of administrative procedures.

Getting medical treatment abroad can imply a series of administrative hurdles and issues: getting a visa, preparing the bank documents the country of origin or the destination country require for money transfers, preparing documents that justify any delays in returning to your country, and drafting and signing documents, records, contracts and reports in the patient’s native language that are required by the organization paying for treatment, etc.

As a general rule, except when it comes to preparing the most basic documents, no hospital in Barcelona has the staff to efficiently handle all of these requirements. Which is why most charitable foundations and insurance companies need our support to work with hospitals: one of our jobs is to handle bureaucratic red tape and manage all the administrative procedures these situations involve. Moreover, our ability to solve administrative hurdles is a helpful and much-appreciated added value for our private patients.

  • Fast and efficient solution to logistical problems.

Several hospitals in Barcelona provide logistical services; for example, they can recommend a hotel or an apartment, arrange transportation to the hospital, etc. However, no hospital has the staff to help with any and all logistics issues in Barcelona, like calling a taxi to pick you up from your apartment/hotel or taking you to the immigration office to extend your stay in the country. And hospitals have even less resources to organize logistics in another country. For example, hospitals are unable to organize the complex logistics involved if you need an emergency medical transport by plane from Yekaterinburg or Dubai. We, on the other hand, handle 700 to 800 highly complex cases every year, all patients from different countries and continents. Managing cases like these is a regular part of our work, and we’re here to solve all your logistics issues.

  • Trusted intermediary between the patient and medical institutions.

One of the services we provide the hospitals we work with is to guarantee feedback from foreign patients on the treatment or medical service received. Hospital administrations listen closely to what we have to say, because they know that we communicate issues and suggestions after rigorously checking the facts and analyzing the actual situation. We back up the patient and always do everything possible to establish effective dialogue. This doesn’t mean that delicate and conflicting situations are to be expected, but they sometimes do happen, and it’s much easier for a patient and his/her family to submit a special request or proposal to the hospital administration through us. We have an extremely good relationship with both hospital directors and the specialists themselves; they listen to what we have to say, and this hand-in-hand relationship can significantly help the patient. We’re able to squeeze in patients for an appointment with a specialist whose schedule is packed, get a quick response to the most complex questions, our interpreters always have the cell phone number of the operating surgeon…in short, we ensure a much easier and convenient relationship between you and the hospital.

  • 24/7/365 support in the patient’s native language.

To date, no hospital in Barcelona has the staff to offer personalized patient care in different languages ​​24 hours a day, 365 days a week. But we do. Our service is designed to guarantee maximum comfort and safety for patients and their families.

BM assigns a personal coordinator to each patient upon arrival in Barcelona; this contact person speaks the patient’s language and is available around the clock. The coordinator will be in constant contact with the hospital where the patient will receive treatment, helps adjust the schedule, handles the timely receipt and translation of medical reports, and can get on the phone to help with any problem related to the patient’s stay in Barcelona. Communication with the coordinator is possible in emergency situations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We provide professional, caring support for patients and their families in the most difficult and unexpected moments.

What materials do I need to send (and in what language) for professionals to review my case?

There’s a simple rule to follow: the more detailed the information the specialist assigned to review your case receives, the better the response about a possible program in Barcelona that we can coordinate. We ask that you prepare your request as accurately as possible and to provide us with all your medical documents and reports. Your coordinator, the person responsible for managing your case, will organize the systematization of the materials and their translation into Spanish. We accept typed (never handwritten) reports in English, Russian and Arabic. If you have an MRI, CT scan or other important medical imaging results related to your case, we recommend sending not only the test results, but also the images themselves. Given their size, you can use a file hosting service, like Dropbox, to send the files.

BMC strictly follows all regulations on the protection of your personal data. We guarantee that all information submitted will be processed according to the regulations established by the European RGPD.

How quickly will I receive a response from Barcelona specialists and what kind of response can I expect?

The BMC coordinator will contact you within the first 24 hours after receiving your request in order to answer your initial questions, request any additional information we may need, advise you on choosing the best hospital and specialist for your case, and to provide support with any administrative or organizational issue you may have.

We are keenly aware of the fact that when a person seeks medical care in another country, it’s almost always because the case is complex and urgent and requires the quickest possible response. That is why we guarantee that our team will translate all the medical information required to review the case as quickly as possible, always in 12 hours or less. After that, the speed of response will largely depend on the specific hospital and specialist.

Your case will be reviewed by one of the leading specialists –often one of Europe’s most reputable doctors– in your disease. This is the right way to do things, and we are thrilled to be able to assure patients that any clinical case assesssed by a Barcelona hospital is given the utmost consideration by top experts, not simply international department staff. In terms of complex diseases that require the intervention of several specialists, the case will be reviewed by several doctors, even at this preliminary stage.

However, this highly rigorous approach means that a response may take several days in some cases (sometimes taking longer than a week); for example, if a specialist is at a conference, any application review will have to wait until he/she returns to the office. After reviewing the materials, the specialist will send his/her comments to the hospital administration, which in turn will prepare an estimate for the proposed treatment program. While this is most often a quick process, several additional days of wait time are sometimes required (for example, when the cost of a particular prosthesis or other materials is pending confirmation, etc.).

This means that patients can expect an answer in about 1-2 days when it comes to the most standard procedures, but complex cases that require a detailed treatment program and corresponding cost estimate can take up to 5 days, sometimes longer.

When it comes to an emergency in which waiting can be critical for the patient’s health, we contact the hospital administration directly to expediate the process. And we always guarantee our patients that BMC will translate the hospital’s response into their native language so that they receive an answer the same day we receive it in Spanish.

Generally, the program you receive in Spanish (translated into your native language) will contain at least the following:

– Indication of the recommended surgical or non-surgical treatment with the name of the hospital and treating physician.

– The approximate length of hospital stay and the recommended time for postoperative observation in Barcelona.

– Estimated cost of treatment.

Patients should also remember that with certain diseases, mainly complex oncology cases, a treatment program and cost cannot be prepared without exhaustively examining the patient. In these cases of completely individualized treatment that depend on confirmation of the genetic subtype of the tumor and many other factors, we can provide a general idea of the cost of treatment in Barcelona, ​​but the hospital will only be able to send you a detailed description of the diagnostic program and the second opinion program, without clear recommendations for the treatment program, length of stay in Barcelona and cost.

The BMC coordinator will be available to supplement the information you receive from the hospital with additional information about the treatment and can answer any other questions you might have. Our staff will give you detailed explanations about the hospital, the specialist who reviewed your case, explain the hospital admission procedure and answer any other questions about your stay in Barcelona (from advice on where to shop for a wig if the patient loses his/her hair from chemotherapy to the availability of apartments adapted for patients with reduced mobility). Our coordinator will be in constant touch with you throughout the entire process.

Can BMC help me with the visa, transfers, accommodation, etc.?

Yes, the BMC staff will be happy to help recommend, offer advice, and organize these and other services. As we mentioned, all management services are free for our patients. We will prepare an invitation letter for a visa application to Spain and we are ready and willing to speak with the Spanish Consulate if they have additional questions. We will coordinate your medical plane and ambulance pick-up if necessary. We will recommend the best accommodation in your neighborhood of choice and organize support from your personal translator.

There is one service that patients can request that has an extra charge, and that is the personal interpretation service by one of our language professionals. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions – our willingness to help with any problem makes us an irreplaceable resource for patients. And we, of course, aim to become your indispensable partner.

Do Barcelona hospitals have staff who speak my native language? How is the translation service organized in general?

We work with hospitals in Barcelona that enjoy an excellent international reputation, which means that each treats a large number of foreign patients and has several staff members who speak different foreign languages as a result; these are the international department’s assistants/interpreters. Not only that, but virtually all doctors in these hospitals speak English, and several hospitals have nursing staff who speak Russian, Arabic, French and other languages.

As a general rule, the main role of the hospital’s assistants/interpreters is to serve as an interpreter during the patient’s doctor appointments. This service is free. In addition, a BMC patient can always count on his/her personal coordinator, another free service that provides a coordinator who is just a phone call away 24/7. Your coordinator will do everything possible to ensure that the hospital interpreter is always there with you during all crucial moments. We work hand in hand with the hospital’s international department and are constantly in touch with hospital staff.

However, there may be situations in which the patient needs an interpreter and a hospital assistant is unavailable. This can happen for several reasons: numerous patients can have appointments scheduled at the same time and the hospital interpreter may be otherwise occupied. There are even cases in which the patient requires around-the-clock interpretation services, which the hospital is unable to provide. This patient always has two options in these cases:

–          You can use one of the many professional freelance interpreters in Barcelona. In this case, we strongly recommend looking for interpreters who are highly skilled in medical translation: inaccuracies in this context can lead to serious consequences. We also always recommended that your interpreter be familiar with the hospital where you’re receiving treatment to make it easier to help you during any unforeseen circumstances.

–          The second option, which patients generally prefer, is for the BMC coordinator to organize the interpreter’s services. The regular fee for BMC’s medical interpretation services is €75 euros for up to three hours (during business hours). We work with more than 15 expert interpreters and translators who specialize in medical translations (in some cases, and depending on the schedule, your coordinator may also be your interpreter).

When we recommend an interpreter, you can rest assured that complete accuracy is ensured because you’ll be working with a professional who is well versed in medical terminology. And we guarantee that the interpreter we recommend is a familiar face at Barcelona hospitals, which means that it will be easier to communicate, request a more detailed explanation and resolve any unforeseen circumstance. For example, test results could mean that the patient needs to schedule additional tests, which in some cases could be performed the same day. For someone unfamiliar with the hospital, it’s much harder to help the patient organize all the tests he/she needs. On the other hand, an interpreter who works with several dozen patients in this hospital a year can quickly and efficiently help you, acting not only as an interpreter, but also as an assistant. Finally, we always strive to recommend interpreters who are also responsible and sensitive to patient needs.

The grand majority Barcelona doctors and nurses speak English, which means that a patient who speaks English can communicate with staff, even when no interpreter is present. Even so, we recommend that patients, particularly if their English is less than fluent, always use professional interpreter services during important doctors’ appointments and meetings. Medical terminology and nuances of meaning are extremely important when it comes to talking about health, and any miscommunications in these cases is not worth the risk.

Finally, we’d like to emphasize that the inherent kindness and warmth of Spanish doctors, nurses and physiotherapists is manifested broadly throughout all elements of communication. So we often see that medical specialists who have many Russian-speaking foreign patients, for example, download mobile apps for communicating in Russian and learn the most important phrases. And although this all seems a bit anecdotal, and of course doesn’t provide a solution when you need to understand a doctor’s instructions down to the letter, these extra measures taken by the staff are a good indicator of how the hospital prioritizes communication, making efforts towards friendly communication and showing a willingness to do everything possible to ensure flawless mutual understanding.

Do Barcelona hospitals let family members spend the night with the patient?

Of course! All the private rooms at the hospitals with which we work allow someone to stay in the room with the patient, be it a family member or simply a close friend. These rooms always have a private bathroom as well as a couch so that the companion can sleep in the same room as the patient. The hospital staff will prepare the bed every night with clean linens, etc. Only one person is allowed to stay with the patient throughout the night, and the guest will not be expected to care for the patient: around-the-clock nursing care and support is provided by the hospital staff (rest assured that nurses and assistants will visit you regularly to make sure you have everything you need!). However, the company of a loved one generally has a positive impact on the patient’s mood and reduces the anxiety of family members, so it’s always welcome in Spain.

Moreover, several private hospitals offer two-room suites that can accommodate more than one companion: each of the two rooms also has its own bathroom, television, safe, fridge, etc. This is particularly useful when the patient travels to Barcelona with several family members for a particularly difficult operation, or if the patient is accompanied by his/her security detail (senior government officials, etc.).

In general, it must be said that Barcelona hospitals are more than just functional; they are beautiful and comfortable, almost all have stunning views, all have a TV with channels in the most common languages, and ample menu choices mean that patients can adapt their meals to personal and cultural preferences. Family and friends of any age can visit you at any time of the day.

Young patients are always admitted with a parent. By the way, most hospitals in Barcelona allow ​​parents to be with their child 24 hours a day in practically every circumstance, even in the intensive care or neonatology unit.

Can I get follow-up or recommendation about my treatment after I return home?

BMC patients are still our clients, even after their treatment in Barcelona is over, and most of our patients recommend us to their family and friends. But that’s not what we mean when we say that we are available even after clients return to their home country; we mean that we’re committed to answering your questions and communicating with your doctor, if necessary. Should the patient need to clarify something important after their return home, we promise to take your question to the doctor who treated you in Barcelona and make sure you receive the clarification or recommendation you need.

We will do everything in our power to help you solve any problem both during your stay in Barcelona and after your treatment has ended. You can contact us by emailing our corporate address, info@bmc.cat, by calling +34 935 484 509, or by emailing or texting (WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.) your personal coordinator directly. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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