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Medical Tourism to Croatia

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Overview

Despite being fairly new to the medical tourism industry, Croatia has recently become a key destination for medical tourists looking for medical treatment abroad. The primary reason for this is that the country’s high quality medical professionals and facilities. The cost of medical procedures in Croatia is significantly lower when compared to countries such as the United States, Japan, or the United Kingdom. In particular, medical tourists are flocking to Croatia for IVF, cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and orthopedic surgery.

Croatia Healthcare System

Croatia has a universal healthcare system. The vast majority of the population is covered by a standard health insurance plan provided by statute and optional insurance. This is all administered by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).

The CHIF was established in 1992 and acts as the sole insurer in the mandatory health insurance (MHI) system that provides universal healthcare coverage to the entire Croatian population. The Healthcare system in Croatia has been frequently likened to the systems in countries much more developed, such as the UK and the USA. Croatia attracts around 18.5 million tourists every year, and an increasingly large number of these tourists are there for medical reasons.

All hospitals in Croatia are governed by the Croatian Health Ministry (CHM). The CHM categorizes hospitals into one of five divisions:

1. Clinical Hospital Center
2. Clinical Hospital
3. Clinic
4. General Hospital
5. Specialists Hospitals

When traveling to Croatia for a medical procedure, it is highly advised to do your due diligence and research which hospital is best for the procedure you need. Being that the hospitals are so specialized, you don’t want to risk ending up in the wrong area or at a hospital that cannot assist you with your issue.

Croatia does not have any hospitals accredited by the Join Commission International at this time. Hospitals in Croatia have verifying accrediting bodies including the American Accreditation Commission International and the prestigious Global Healthcare Accreditation. The Ministry of Health is the main regulatory body for the health care system in Croatia

Top hospitals for medical tourism in Croatia

  • Axis Specialty Hospital: Originally known as Veterbris International Spine Hospital, Axis Specialty Hospital was founded in 2010 by medical professionals who were tired of poor results and inefficient patient outcomes at typical hospitals. They wanted to bring something new to the table, something innovative. That innovation was bringing minimally invasive surgical procedures to Croatia while increasing customer satisfaction to levels not seen before in the country.
  • Specijalna bolnica Sveta Katarina: Specijalna bolnica Sveta Katarina is a European center for medical excellence. The hospital focuses on state of the art diagnostics, therapeutic and rehabilitation infrastructures.
  • County General Hospital Vukova hospital and the Croatian Veterans: Located in Krapina-Zagorje County, this 249 bed hospital encompasses various medical facilities with the modern medical equipment and innovative approaches.
  • Poliklinika Marin Med: Opening in 2012, this privately owned hospital offerings comfortable accommodations and the latest medical advances, equipment, and procedures.

Common treatments done by medical tourists in Croatia

  • Dental Care
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Superlative Care

Cost of medical treatments in Croatia

The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Croatia and equivalent procedures in the United States:
Medical Procedures
Procedure US Hospitals Jordan Average Savings
Cosmetic Surgeries/Rhinoplasty $5,000-$10,000 $2,100-$5,800 42%-58%
Breast Augmentation (standard) $9,162-$10,995 $2,400-$3,000 73%-70%
Laser Teeth Whitening $1,500 $298 80%

Malpractice and liability laws in Croatia

In 1995 the Croatian Medical Chamber (CMC) was established and given legal jurisdiction and responsibilities to ensure the safety of medical patients of Croatia. The responsibilities of physicians to their patients are clearly detailed through a set of enforceable requirements established by the CMC. Most of these responsibilities are matched by provisions in Croatia's criminal law.

Pros

  • Leading Medical Professionals

    Most doctors working in Croatia study for many years in formal education and training, honing their crafts and ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest medical advances.
  • Vacation destination

    Croatia is an ancient land of scenic rivers, picturesque mountains, and relaxing beaches. Croatia attracts tens of thousands of travelers annually who come to see to the beautifully ancient cities, pristine beaches and rocky mountain ranges.
  • Low Cost

    Croatia has a growing reputation as a country that offers the best and most advanced medical professional and services, while still being drastically cheaper when compared to their counterparts in North America and throughout all of Europe.

Cons

  • Lack of JCI accreditations

    No JCI accredited hospitals in the country.
  • Language Barrier

    Approximately 81 percent of Croatians are multilingual, and 80 percent of those individuals speak some English. This equates to a mere 64 percent of rough English speakers in the country. Most medical professionals have training in English, but it may be difficult to communicate with some of the locals.

Traveling to Croatia

Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To Croatia
New York 11
Los Angeles 13
Miami 14
Toronto 12
Paraguay 11
Uruguay 10
Venezuela 9
Bolivia 5
Dubai 6
Riyadh 7
Kuwait 4.5
London 2.5

Entry and exit requirements to Croatia

You do not need a visa if you hold a valid passport and are traveling to Croatia for tourism or business for less than 90 days within a 180-day period. For more specific entry and residence requirements in Croatia, it’s advised that you visit the Embassy of Croatia's website.

Statistics for medical tourism in Croatia

Tourism is often mentioned as the main driving force of Croatia’s economic development. Medical Tourism in Croatia is on the rise and is a key component of Croatia’ overall tourism and economic strategies. There are over 18 million tourist visits per year to Croatia and, with every passing year, the percentage of those tourists there for medical reasons increases. Croatia is championing this rise in medical tourism and collectively embracing the influx of visitors. This is because the continued growth of medical tourism in Croatia will inevitably increase the demand for high quality medical devices, consumables, and equipment. Additionally, medical tourism creates a demand for hospitality services in the healthcare sector, healthcare software, telemedicine, and accreditation institutions.

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