Latvian Relief Fund of America

LRFA is a professionally managed, non-profit, mutual assistance organization, designed to provide our members with affordable health care plans and financial assistance in emergencies. We support other Latvian-American organizations and education in the U.S. and abroad.
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Medical Travel

Current Events

At LRFA, we are constantly seeking ways to improve our services to meet the needs of our members. One of the ways we do this is to find out what interest them. Many of our members are frequent travelers and/or have relatives overseas. From that fact, we developed our Travel plans and coverage for Visitors from Abroad.

Medical Tourism is a rapidly growing practice in which patients travel from the United States to another country for medical treatments and services. The basic reasons someone might choose medical tourism can be described in three categories: cost savings, availability of new treatments, or freedom of choice.

It began a few years ago in 2013 when John Gunars Berzins (LRFA Chairman & CEO) met with the Latvian Ambassador to the United States, Andris Razans at the Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C. They discussed Latvia's interest in becoming a destination for Medical Tourism and how LRFA might become a part of this initiative. Representatives from the Latvian company, Express Travel, were also on hand to provide valuable insight. Ambassador Razans is supportive of medical tourism and encouraged the development of business relationships in this area.

In 2014, LRFA representatives traveled to Latvia, meeting with key business leaders and exploring medical tourism partnerships.

Complete our Medical Tourism Survey and give us your thoughts!

2013 Meeting with Ambassador Razans 2013 Meeting with Ambassador Razans

Andris Razans, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S.
John Gunars Berzins, LRFA Chairman & CEO

Andris Razans, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S.
John Gunars Berzins, LRFA Chairman & CEO

2013 Meeting with Ambassador Razans
Carlos Augstroze, Director of Int'l Marketing for Express Travel
Iveta Knese, Secretary of the Board of LRFA
Andris Razans, Latvian Ambassador to the U.S.
John Gunars Berzins, LRFA Chairman & CEO
Ralph Augstroze, Express Travel

Examples of treatments and services often sought abroad:

  • elective procedures
  • dental procedures and surgery
  • eye care (LASIK)
  • joint replacement (knee/hip)
  • cardiac surgery
  • cosmetic surgeries
  • treatment for genetic disorders
  • procedures not available yet in the United States

Why are people doing this?

  1. Cost - The cost of health care in the United States is rising and coverage changes are occurring. Also, many insurances will not cover new or experimental treatments leaving desperately ill people to face enormous bills alone.
  2. Quality - The medical care and medical technology of European Union countries meets or exceeds United States standards while maintaining lower costs than the United States.
  3. New Treatments - Europe also has some advanced procedures not yet available in the United States, such as Virotherapy to treat cancer. For more information on cancer virotherapy in Latvia, visit:
  4. Freedom - Some insurance companies place restrictions on procedures like orthopedic surgery by not letting you pick your own doctor, hospital or rehabilitation facility. Medical tourism can give you back the power and the freedom to choose what is best for you!
  5. These and many other factors have lead us to begin researching how we can leverage our healthcare experience in Latvia and Medical Tourism options in Latvia to better serve our members.

    We really appreciate any and all feedback!

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