Foreigners praise Severance Hospital
By John Redmond
Seeking hospital treatment in a foreign country can be a rather daunting task. Combined with difficulties in language and culture, many are faced with a nightmare of lack of proper health insurance, resulting in high bills.
For those living in Korea, the nation has state-of-the-art medical facilities with foreign friendly staff.
One such hospital is Severance Hospital of the Yonsei University Health System, located in Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul and is the biggest university hospital in Korea.
It has 3,700 beds, approximately 3 million outpatients and 1 million inpatients annually and is affiliated with the Yonsei University College of Medicine. It is the oldest Western-style hospital in the country, founded in 1885 as a royal hospital named Gwanghyewon by Dr. Horace N. Allen, an American missionary doctor. It was renamed Severance Hospital on Sept. 3 1904 (after a generous American donor, Louis Severance of Standard Oil) and approved as a service mark in 1995.
The Korea Times spoke to James McNicholas of the U.S. Army about his experience in dealing with staff at the hospital.
The Korea Times: In your own words tell me how the staff treated you?
James McNicholas: It was very easy to find Severance Hospital by car. There was a lot of parking available. From the beginning, it was easy to locate the correct floor. We went to the information desk in the main lobby and asked for the International Clinic (IC). One of the receptionists escorted us to the clinic. Everything in the clinic was well marked and written in English. There was a sign in several languages that said they had interpreters for Chinese, Japanese and several other languages. The IC receptionist spoke very clear English and we were checked in quickly. We were then escorted to the appropriate clinic by an escort who stayed with us for the duration of our appointment. She did not enter the doctor's office, but remained in the hallway and escorted us back to the IC. Once back to the IC, she scheduled the next appointment. A nurse then met with us to discuss the follow-up appointment and what to expect. She asked that we report to the IC for the follow-up and we will again be escorted to the correct place. We were very well treated by everyone we met.
Q: Would you advise foreigners to seek treatment at this hospital? Why?
A: Yes. The IC was very helpful, patient, and accommodating. They answered all of our questions professionally and thoroughly. What could have been a difficult experience was made very easy.
Q: How did it work with insurance? Were you covered?
A: The IC has a desk for insurance. There was a sign stating insurance and listed several, including ours (Tricare). There were no difficulties with the acceptance of our insurance.
Q: Anything you'd like to add.
A: This was a great experience. We were concerned about using a hospital here in Korea and had considered waiting until we returned to the United States. But, we are glad we went to Severance Hospital.
For more information visit http://www.yuhs.or.kr/en/hospitals/severance/Sev_Intro/Gnr_info