MIAMI (CBS4)- When customer service is lacking in all industries, a local company has created a medical concierge service that puts patients first.
International patients diagnosed with serious illnesses can now get the VIP treatment when they come to South Florida for medical care.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer the right breast,” said Irgentina Sargent.
A diagnosis that was difficult for Sargent to hear.
But what made it even more challenging is Sargent lives in the Bahamas and her doctor wanted her to be treated in the United States.
“That’s how I met Maria,” Sargent explained.
Maria Freed is the managing partner of ORNOA – Oncology Referral Network of America.
It’s a medical concierge service located in South Florida that serves international patients.
“With the doctor’s permission I call the patient and I sort of lay out their case. What do they need? Do they need diagnostics? Do they need lab work? Do they need a surgeon? And I sort of lay out what’s the game plan while you’re here,” Freed explained.
“You make it so easy,” Sargent added.
ORNOA sets up tests like mammograms and ultrasounds for patients. It also handles flight and hotel schedules, and even deals with insurance companies.
“That’s what’s so good about it because it takes the stress off that they can handle all of the appointments for you,” Sargent said. “They take care of all of the insurance. And when it was all done, I got a call and she said, ‘Irgentina you are all sorted out,’ and I said, ‘oh that’s so good.’”
The patient navigation service is paid for by participating doctors so the cost is not passed onto the patient.
“We work with ORNOA because they allow our patients to have the service they need.
“It’s difficult enough when you live across the street. If you live across the ocean it’s even more difficult,” said Herbert Shick, Medical Director of the Physician’s Imaging Center of Florida.
Free said many of the patients using the service are in Florida for a short time.
“Of all the patients, they probably need the most hand holding because they’re coming here for a very short time and they’re not familiar with our center,” added Freed.
Patients are referred from all over the world, including Canada and South America.
For Irgentina, it made a difficult situation much more pleasant.
“I can’t even say how gratifying it’s been to have Maria there to be able to call on her,” she said.
The service is not just for cancer patients. It is for people with all kinds of illnesses, and even if you live in South Florida.
If your doctor participates in the program you can get the same kind of unique customer service.
To learn more, visit their Web site.