There are several ways to seek medical attention during your time in Indonesia:
- Hotel or home visit by a clinic, hospital or doctor
- General practitioner consultation
- Specialist consultation
- Emergency consultation
- Emergency service
Hotel or home visit
Most clinics and private hospitals provide hotel and home visit service. A doctor will come to your address for examination and treatment. This is indicated for less serious ailments. It may take time for the doctor to arrive to your address. In some cases, you can call your insurance company to arrange a doctor’s visit. When necessary, the doctor will arrange a patient transfer to the hospital.
General practitioner consultation
Most clinics have general practitioners on standby. You can find many clinics available giving 24-hour service in major tourist areas. Some hospitals like the BIMC Hospital also provide in-house clinics. They also provide medications.
When you visit a hospital, you can request to directly have consultation to a specialist, i.e. internist,surgeon, ENT specialist, dermatologist, etc. You should contact the hospital for the time of consultation. Most specialists also run their own private practice and are not available full-time at the hospital.
If you are in an acute condition, but able to get to a medical centre, you will be escorted to the emergency room. Most major hospitals like the BIMC Hospital and some clinics have a 24-hour emergency room service. The attending usually is a general practitioner who will perform initial examination and tests, then advise for further treatment or referral. When a specialist referral is needed, they may not be immediately available, usually the attending doctor will discuss the treatment until the specialist’s evaluation.
When you need immediate emergency treatment, you can call an emergency ambulance service. Although many hospitals boast to provide 24-hour ambulance service, in practice these services are very limited and not readily available. The only reliable emergency service with international standard equipment and quick ambulance dispatch is at the BIMC Hospital. However, you must know there will be a charge for the service. At BIMC Hospital, the ambulance team always consists of a doctor and a nurse, unlike in most western countries, where paramedics will be the first responders. When the ambulance returns to BIMC Hospital, the emergency room is prepared to provide professional service immediately from minor injuries to more complex procedures.
When medical treatment in Bali is not sufficient, medical evacuation to a higher care facility is needed. The nearest higher care facilities are in Singapore, Perth or Jakarta. Should medical evacuation be necessary, BIMC Hospital will handle all arrangements either by commercial airline carrier, helicopter or private air ambulance charter. Working closely with aircraft operators and insurance companies worldwide, BIMC Hospital fully facilitates the process to place the patient in the safest hands.
These evacuations are expensive, therefore should include assistance from your insurance company. If the insurance company has agreed to cover the cost, the company will be able to make any necessary evacuation arrangements. Such arrangements include settling the hospital account, hiring an ambulance to the airport, check-in procedures, immigration processing and tarmac clearance for the ambulance.
Not only for severe cases but also for simpler treatments every traveler is advised to have organized coverage with travel insurance. In some facilities, medical assistance and treatment can be expensive. And most importantly, due to some diagnostic or therapeutic facility limitations in the island, some patients need to be transfered to another city, even to another country.
The patient, family member or travelling companion should contact the insurance company as soon as possible after admission to hospital. Insurance companies usually have 24-hour contact numbers for emergency assistance. The insurance company will be able to advise on medical coverage, assess the treatment and give consideration to medical evacuation after liasing with the treating doctor. They can also assist with changing bookings and ticket arrangement.
In non-severe medical cases, usually you will have to pay the medical bill in advance, then reimburse the cost when you arrive back in your country.
A note on the Doctors’ education in Indonesia
In Indonesia, once medical students finsh their hospital internship, they get their medical degree as general practitioners. If they continue their 3 to 5 year residency, they get a specialistic degree, i.e. becoming surgeons, neurologists, dermatologists, etc. Doctors in Indonesia who practice in the public health system also have private practices or lecture at universities. At present foreign doctors and nurses are not permitted to practice in Indonesia.