A significant development in the EU medical industry has occurred in Cyprus involving EU cross-border treatment. Greece's National Healthcare Service (EOPYY) recently approved using the "Planned medical treatment abroad" scheme to cover the costs of a Greek patient receiving surgical treatment for a rare disease by a world-leading US-based surgeon in a private hospital in Cyprus. Unlike the well-known EU - S2 scheme, which allows patients to receive EU cross-border treatment in public sector hospitals, the "Planned medical treatment abroad" scheme allowed this specific Greek patient to be fully treated in a private hospital and be reimbursed the entire cost, including consultations and surgery performed by the American medical specialist.
The NHS of an EU member state approves cross-border surgical treatment to a private medical provider in another EU country, under the EU “Planned medical treatment abroad” scheme.
This particular case occurred in Limassol, where Dr. Frank Feigenbaum of AIMIS Spine treated the patient for Tarlov Cysts, a rare disease. The patient took advantage of an opportunity available to all EU citizens to cover the costs of surgical treatment for a rare disease at a private hospital abroad through the "Planned medical treatment abroad" scheme. This scheme enables EU citizens suffering from rare or low prevalence complex diseases that necessitate highly specialized healthcare as well as a concentration of knowledge and resources to receive treatment in a different EU country than where they live. Furthermore, the patient's experience with the Greek National Healthcare System has been confirmed to be similar and equally applicable to all EU countries.
To obtain this approval, the patient needed a signed letter from a Public Hospital (or a private hospital that is part of the local NHS and a doctor with the relevant specialty) that will declare that Tarlov Cysts cannot be creditably and successfully treated in his country. This letter scientifically stated that the lack of experience and of proven outcomes of local surgeons to treat such a rare disease significantly increased the need to receive treatment in another country. Moreover, the medical provider - AIMIS Spine, submitted a detailed medical plan, an invitation letter, a price quote and an additional letter from the local surgeons, which proved to be extremely helpful to the patient. Particular emphasis was given in all documents on Dr. Feigenbaum’s evidence-based technique and his extensive experience in treating Tarlov Cysts. The Greek patient then submitted his case to his local Health Council, where they examined it in detail. The scientific criteria alone, was undoubtedly a positive parameter for the approval of the claim since no one can dispute Dr. Feigenbaum’s expertise, experience and scientific adequacy regarding Tarlov Cyst treatment. Henceforth, the Greek patient managed to receive planned medical treatment in a private hospital in a different EU country than the one where he resides.
Tarlov Cysts (also known as meningeal cysts) are fluid-filled sacs, commonly located at the bottom of the spine (the sacrum). The cysts appear due to the progressive accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid inside the nerves, causing them to expand and subsequently limiting the patient’s ability to sit, stand, walk and do many more day-to-day activities. This rare disease is often overlooked by many neurosurgeons, whilst other clinicians refuse to accept this rare disease as symptomatic.
Dr. Feigenbaum, however, importantly differentiates from other neurosurgeons as he is himself the world-leading authority in treating Tarlov Cysts. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon practicing in Dallas, Texas and in Cyprus. Dr. Feigenbaum has the most extensive surgical experience in treating Tarlov cysts in the world (in excess of 4000 cases) and has developed a refined surgical technique for Tarlov cysts, with proven statistical outcomes. His most recent peer-reviewed publication in-fact, “Prospective validation of a quality-of-life measure for women undergoing surgical intervention for symptomatic sacral Tarlov cysts: The Tarlov Cyst Quality of Life Scale” further proves his unique, evidence-based approach, by prospectively validating a site-specific, health-related, quality-of-life survey for women with symptomatic sacral Tarlov cysts. His surgical outcomes, most notably with his team at AIMIS Spine in Cyprus, reflect statistically significant improvement in a multitude of symptoms of patients following their surgeries.