Traveling overseas

My husband has family in Panama, and he is on Peritoneal Dialysis. We would like to spend up to 3 months at a time in Panama. Could we have his supplies sent there?

You should talk with your husband’s home training nurse. He/she can either talk with the company that makes his PD supplies or tell your husband who to talk with in that company. From what I’ve heard, companies will generally ship supplies within the continental US but if they won’t ship overseas, the patient has to pay the costs of shipping supplies outside the U.S.

There may also be other things to take into consideration:

  • Does the company sell PD supplies in Panama and could you obtain them locally with the cost being billed to your local clinic? If not, what is needed to get the PD supplies through customs in Panama and in the U.S. if there are supplies left over?
  • Where could your husband see a doctor or get emergency treatment if he has a problem in Panama? Perhaps his family can help to find answers to this question. Here’s a 2007 article that discusses PD in Latin America:
  • How would the costs of emergency treatment be paid? Medicare will not pay outside the U.S. but if he has an employer plan it may pay.
  • Does the same manufacturer of your husband’s PD supplies sell in Panama? Different companies’ catheters are different and if a line needs to be replace, you’d need to have a plan for how to do that, which may include taking one or more extra lines with you so you can get a nurse or MD in Panama to change a damage line.
  • Dialysis clinics should be providing antibiotics for patients under the rate Medicare pays for dialysis, but if your husband runs out, how would he get more to treat peritonitis?

You can , But you need to consult his doctor. As he got the reports he will suggest you the best in the matter .

As “unregistered” says, it would be a good idea to have a doctor, preferably a local nephrologist, that your husband can see if he’s away from home that long. In the U.S. doctors are supposed to see their patients every month while they’re on home dialysis. If your husband’s U.S. doctor doesn’t see him for 3 months, that doctor may not be able to bill Medicare for providing his supervision for the time that he’s away.

NOTE: Medicare doesn’t pay for routine dialysis treatments done outside the U.S. and its territories. This keeps many in-center hemodialysis patients from traveling internationally unless they have other insurance that will pay outside the U.S. With home dialysis patients being able to ship their supplies outside the U.S. themselves, I suspect patients may be doing their treatments anywhere and the dialysis clinic is billing for home dialysis.