In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
An interview with Travis
Kraft, Owner, Passport Medical
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Our objective at
Retire Early Lifestyle is to offer our Readers viable solutions to
retirement challenges. With the prices of medical care and health insurance in
the States being so high, Medical Tourism or Medical Travel is a workable answer
Travis Kraft is the owner
of Passport Medical and he shares some very important insights on
Take a look.
Early Lifestyle: Travis, thank you for taking the time to do this
interview with us. Could you tell us a little about your
Medical: Sure, I have been involved in starting and running businesses most
of my adult life. I really enjoy the challenge of taking an idea and making it
come to life. I learned mostly on the go and by trial and error, which really
isn’t the most cost effective way of doing things. I never took formal schooling
in business until recently. You see I have a 20-year-old son, and he has caught
the entrepreneurial bug from me. He has been attending University for the past
two years and came to me in the fall of 2012 and told me that he wanted to quit
school and start a business.
So, before getting
too upset, I asked him "what do you want to do?" He mentioned he wanted to start a
landscaping business. I said, “ok, do you know what it takes to make that
happen and how much work it will be?”
He said, "Well you
can help me"
I smiled and said,
"if you go to school and finish I will help you, school is very important, and
you need to finish before you go and concentrate on starting a business."
Then he said, "well
you never went to school and you did well."
At that point, I was
speechless... What do I say to him now without being a hypocrite? I said, "You
are right Jordan…I never did go to school and have learned the hard way and I
wish that I had."
So this past year, I
have dedicated myself to achieving one thing I never did. That is going to
school and getting my post secondary education. At first, I was doing it to
prove a point to my son... Now I’m doing it for me. I will graduate this June
with honors. I think my strategy worked, as he is now enrolled in the same
program that I’m just finishing. I hope he will have all the success in the
world, and I will support him fully with anything he does.
REL: What was your
motivation to begin your business of Passport Medical?
Passport Medical was a culmination of several factors. I saw a real need for
three groups of people, people who have limited insurance, people who have no
insurance at all, and in Canada, people who are on waiting lists for years before
they can have surgery in their socialized healthcare system. Back in 2009 I
began to research Medical Tourism. It consumed me. I wanted to know anything and
everything about this industry called Medical Tourism and how I might be able to
help people in their many different medical situations.
Late 2009 and the
beginning of 2010 there was a medical breakthrough for MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
patients called the Liberation Treatment. The procedure was not available in
either Canada or the US. There was an outpouring of media and social media
coverage on this procedure. So we did our research and found that if the
correct protocols were used that this procedure called
CCSVI (Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency) in most cases would
relieve symptoms or slow the progression of the MS down.
After doing a lot
of research we reached out to our Hospital that we have dealt with in Costa
Rica. In this hospital, we met with
Dr. Macial Fallas. He is a Vascular Surgeon and was familiar with Dr. Zamboni’s findings with regards to the correct protocols to use for this
procedure. We began to create the program and once in place, we sent over
1200 MS patients to be treated. The results were amazing, and a many of the
patients came away from this experience with great results and life long friends
since we had everyone stay at the same hotel. So at any one time there were
more than 80 patients with their families at the hotel. It made for a great
The stories and
friendships that came from this program were heartwarming.
REL: How long have
you been in business?
PM: We have
been in business since 2009 and since then have sent over 2000 patients to be
treated in destinations all over the world. Since then we have been awarded the
"Leadership Excellence in Medical Facilitation Award" presented to us by the
Medical Tourism Association at the World Medical Tourism Conference in Chicago,
IL. We also have a complaint free record with the Better Business Bureau, which
we are very proud of.
REL: What were the
biggest challenges you faced?
PM: I must
say the biggest challenge we face on a daily basis is that people just don’t
know that Medical Tourism is available and a very viable option. Awareness is
something we as an industry are striving to improve. The doctors and facilities
that we deal with are second to none.
People would be
amazed at the quality, safety and affordability that Medical Tourism offers. Many people can save upwards of 80% on their medical procedure such as a
much-needed knee or hip replacement. We have dedicated an entire separate site
Hip and Knee Replacement Center which is a Division of
Passport Medical for this purpose. We also offer a second dedicated site to
Dental Tourism, which is call
Dental Vacation Center we did this because we feel that it is important to
give dedicated and precise information and having separate sites allows us to do
that and make it easier for our patients to find the information they are
looking for, this way they can make an educated decision if Medical Tourism is
the right decision for them and their family.
REL: We have been
proponents of Medical Tourism for two decades now, long before it became a
common topic of discussion. Do you find that people still balk at the idea of
traveling to a foreign country to receive medical care?
unfortunately they do. People don’t realize that many of the medical
facilities we use are JCI Accredited. The
Joint Commission International Accreditation is the same governing body that
regulates and accredits over 19,000 North American Hospitals. So, the level of
service that our patients receive, is the same or even better quality, then they
would receive in their home country.
REL: What do you
find to be the biggest fear that prevents people from utilizing Medical
PM: I think
it differs from patient to patient. Many people have never traveled or been in
a foreign country before and that alone scares them. Our job is to educate
people and to give them the facts so that they can make up their own mind if it
is right for them.
REL: How do you
counter those fears?
counter their fears by showing them testimonials, doctor CV’s, and even a
personal Skype call with the surgeon whom they are looking at using. We want to
alleviate any fear that they may have. It can be difficult because there is
a lot of anxiety anyway when thinking of having surgery of any sort. Adding the
fact that they will be going away from their home country is just too much for
Is it right for
everyone? No. I think you have to have an open mind and weigh all of the options
presented to make sure it is the right decision for you and your family.
REL: What services
does Passport Medical offer?
PM: We try
to make the process effortless for our patients. We try to think of every
little detail so they don’t have to. One of the things we do is source out
medical complications insurance. Many people think just buying travel insurance
is enough. That is a big mistake because it doesn’t cover you for any
complications should they arise, which is seldom, but it is best to be prepared
for its minimal cost that gives you great protection and piece of mind.
Our packages are very
comprehensive as you can see below:
We offer an on the
ground concierge service that includes the following:
transfers (pick-up and drop-off)
• All the ground
transfers for medical/dental appointments
bilingual patient concierge
appointments (lab work, cardio evaluation, x-rays if needed)
• Surgeons fees
garments (if Needed)
revisions (if needed)
• Daily nurse
visits to the hotel (if procedure calls for it)
So as you can see our
packages are very stress free. Once you book till the time
you come back home every aspect of the trip is taken into consideration.
There are many
beautiful things to see in the destinations that we deal with; however, it is
important to remember the real reason for the trip is a medical one and that
rest and relaxation is the best medicine for a quick recovery.
REL: What makes
you different than other Medical Concierge sites that offer Medical Tourism
PM: I think
our personalized approach is definitely something that sets us apart. All of
our correspondence is individually sent out to our patients. There are no form
letters or auto responders from us. We specifically tailor each patient’s
experience to that which they have chosen.
We are one of the
only medical tourism companies that has a claims free record with the BBB, which
we are very proud of. Another thing are our
relationships with our doctors and support staff whom we deal with in the
destination points where we do business. We could not provide the service we do
without these relationships.
There are other
companies out there that offer 20 or more destinations and over a hundred
procedures. We think it is so important to know your doctors and to know them
well. In our opinion, it is next to impossible to have a personal relationship
with so many different doctors. Patients are looking for information on which
to base their decision and knowing the surgeon personally really helps. So that
is why we deal with a select few and only a handful of destinations. Primarily
we deal with
Cancun, Costa Rica and a bit in Panama and Taiwan.
REL: Tell us a
little about the staff of doctors with whom you work. Do they speak English?
Where have they been trained? Does a patient need to speak Spanish or any other
language in order to take advantage of the medical services you offer?
PM: We have
a great selection of doctors and surgeons in our network that we have personally
met and vetted for our patients. All of the doctors we use speak excellent
English and are easy to communicate with, when it comes to a medical procedure,
you want to make sure you’re able to communicate with your caregiver. Many of
our doctors have trained in the US or UK, and many are even US board certified.
REL: What role
does the patient’s primary care physician play?
PM: That is
left up to the individual patient. Some involve them others do not. It is just
a personal preference. In some cases where their primary physician or dentist
cannot help them due to cost or wait time to have a procedure like a hip and
knee replacement they actually have referred their patients to us.
REL: What about
the hospitals that you utilize in your business? You know that people will ask
if they are of similar quality that they can find in the States or Canada.
that is the most common misconception that the hospitals or clinics are not
first world equipped. Let me tell you, the hospitals we use in our network are
state-of-the-art and rival any hospital in the US or Canada. Many of the
facilities we use are JCI accredited, like I had mentioned previously. This
brings a certain amount of security to making your decision to travel abroad for
Galenia Hospital, Cancun
Once our patients see
the hospital, doctors and nurses, they feel very well taken care of, and the
anxiety has been removed.
REL: What makes
your team of doctors and hospitals different than what someone may find “back
PM: I would
say that the biggest difference would be the personalized care. All of our
doctors and surgeons give you their personal cell number. So if you feel that
something isn’t right, you can call them personally, and they will come to visit
you and assess the situation. In my experience, this has worked very well to
alleviate any situations that the patient may be facing. Another big difference
is the support staff. Depending on the procedure, you either have 1 or 2
registered nurses attending to you. This is not always the case in our
hospitals in North America, many times there is one registered nurse and the
others are nursing assistants. So, as I said the personalized service is what
sets these hospitals apart from the ones back home.
REL: What is
included in the prices you quote? Are there any hidden fees? I don't think
people would welcome surprises like that. Do you have payment plans or must
patients pay up front?
PM: In our
pricing and packages we try to think of every little detail so the patient can
concentrate on healing and recuperating. There are no hidden fees; however, I
tell our patients that with any medical procedure there can be things arise that
are not part of the original package. As long as the patient is aware of this
possibility then they are fine with that unlikely possibility.
Something that has
been very popular is the medical procedure financing. We have a finance company
for US patients and another for financing Canadian patients. They are an easy
application process and you get an answer usually the same day, if not
If patients do not
elect financing then most procedures are required to be paid for in full before
leaving your home country. We have found this to be the standard in the
industry, and people have been very accepting of it.
REL: What sort of
medical procedures are provided through Passport Medical?
Currently, we offer 5 areas to help patients:
Weight Loss Surgery
• Dental Tourism
Treatment for MS Patients
REL: Who does
follow up care? What happens if “something goes wrong?” Do your doctors work
with the doctors of the patient back in their home country?
PM: All of
our patients leave to go back home with all of their medical records and what
has been performed while away. Many times the doctor and patient keep in touch
and the doctor follow up via email or a quick telephone call. Once again it all
depends on the procedure and the desire of the patient to stay in touch with the
doctor or not.
Clinica Biblica, Costa Rica
REL: Does someone
stay in the hospital after their procedure or do you offer a place for
recuperation? What if a spouse or other loved one wants to accompany the
patient? Where do they stay?
procedures require overnight stays in the hospital such as orthopedic surgery.
If an overnight stay is required, then the patient can have one family member or
friend stay with them in the hospital room. These hospitals take this into
account and most have a pull out sofa bed for a loved one to stay with the
patient. Some even have a suite attached to the room, which is like a separate
REL: What is the
patient’s responsibility in receiving this medical care in a foreign country?
PM: I think
it is up to the patient to do their research. I’m amazed at the knowledge of
our patients whom we send to be treated. They are very familiar with what they
want and what will be performed as part of the procedure itself. It is also a
great idea to research the destination that you will be traveling to, like
finding out what the local currency is. What vaccinations may I need? What
sight seeing is recommended and will I be able to fit that into my schedule?
With that said, I
remind our patients that their primary purpose is a medical one, and their
results may suffer if not relaxing and recuperating like the doctor has
requested. So I tell our patients that if they are wanting to sight see the
beautiful destination, to, maybe go a week or few days early and do it before
the medical part of the trip.
REL: If someone is
interested in your services or would like to know more, how can they contact
PM: If you
would like to know more about our services, destination or doctors we deal with
then you can call us at 1-800-721-4445, visit our website at
www.passportmedical.com or email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also
Follow us on Twitter or Follow us on Facebook.
Let us know your
expectations, and we will strive to surpass them. We look forward to creating a
stress-free medical travel experience.
We at Retire Early Lifestyle would like to thank Travis for his time and
willingness to share his insight and professional opinion on the topic of
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on
topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of
information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com,
they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since
1991. They wrote the popular books, The
Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your
Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha