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Government Support

Amendment of the Law and Regulations on Foreign Patient Attraction

Amendment of the Medical Service Act

Alhough the attraction, enticement, brokerage, and referral of patients for profits are prohibited under the Medical Service Act, said activities are allowed for foreign patients (excluding foreigners residing in Korea under the Enforcement Rule of the Health and Welfare Ministry ) through the amendment of the Medical Service Act that became effective in January 2009 (Article 27.3 of the Medical Service Act).

Operation of the Registration System

In efforts to prevent confusion in the domestic medical market arising from indiscreet attraction of foreign patients and to control through a systematic approach, it requires healthcare providers and facilitators attracting foreign patients to meet certain requirements and mandatorily register. (Article 27.2 of the Medical Service Act).

Establishment of Medical Visa

The Ministry of Justice has newly established a foreign patient-only visa; the visa issued to foreign patients and their guardians.

This visa is issued to patients and their spouses or family members accompanying them for nursing and those who enter Korea for diagnosis and treatment or recovery in healthcare providers at the invitation of the healthcare providers or facilitators registered for attracting foreign patients.

The "C-3-M" visa will be issued for a short-term visit (up to 90 days), while the "G-1-M" visa is for a long-term visit (for 91 days or longer up to 6 months). When continuous treatment or recovery is required, the travel period can be extended. In case a patient entering Korea with "C-3-M" qualification stays in Korea for more than 91 days, he/she needs to change the travel qualification to "G-1-M," and alien registration is required. For countries in an agreement for multiple-entry visa with Korea, a multiple-entry visa will be issued; otherwise, a single-entry visa will be issued.

For convenience of a foreign patient's visa application, visa issued in the form of confirmation of visa issuance is also permitted. Therefore, healthcare providers and agents trying to attract foreign patients can apply and receive various visas on behalf of the foreign patients of their interest. To enforce the management responsibility of such healthcare providers and facilitators, invitation or visa application by these facilities may be restricted depending on the extent of previous incidents of illegal stay of the foreign patients they invited.

Training of Medical Interpreters and Coordinators

Training courses for medical interpreters are managed and operated in an integrated manner by the Korea Human Resource Development Institute for Health and Welfare (KHRDI), a specialized human resources training agency in the health and welfare field (government agency). Courses for international hospital marketing experts or international medical coordinators are offered by colleges/universities, graduate schools, the Korea Tourism Organization and local tourism organizations, the Human Resources Development Service of Korea -an affiliate of the Ministry of Labor, and private academic institutes.

For the curriculum, despite slight differences in each course, class education is mainly on the subjects that are essential in attracting foreign patients such as medical terms, medical interpretation process & communication, healthcare laws and international medical insurance, medical disputes, and international marketing . Internship in relation to patient care is also offered at healthcare providers. The instructors consist of Korea's top experts and forefront personnel active in the field of foreign patient attraction, offering effective education of both theories and practices.