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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Medical Care: New Era, New Options

If foreigners living in Moscow have one thing in common, it is the fear of falling ill.


"This is a stressful place, and when you get sick here it can be a terrifying experience", said Dr. Myles Druckman of the American Medical Center, which opened about two years ago. The clinic's five Western-trained doctors and several nurses strive to soothe those anxieties as well as heal their patients, he said.


The American Medical Center is one of several Western-run clinics available to foreigners. Medical help can also be found at elite Russian hospitals established for Communist Party apparatchiki or from Russian specialists.


The American Medical Center offers basic health care services, plus a trauma room with life-saving equipment, a laboratory, X-ray facilities and a pharmacy. Hours are from 8: 30 A. M. to 6 P. M. on weekdays and 10 A. M. to 2 P. M. on Saturdays. Tel. 256-8212 or 256-8378.


Annual memberships are available at $250 for individuals, $500 for families, and $1, 000 for corporations. Non-members may also use the clinic, but members get 24-hour emergency care, have priority for appointments and pay less for office visits and medicine.


In July, the European Medical Center reopened in Polyclinic No. 6 on Gruzinsky Pereulok, which formerly served Intourist. About three years ago, the center was affiliated with Euro Assistance and was the first Western clinic in Moscow. It closed when the company ceased doing business here last year.


The clinic serves primarily as a consultation center, according to its French physician. Dr. Francois Gourraud.


Blood tests and some X-rays are done at the center, and prescription medicines are available to patients. It is staffed by Gourraud, a Russian doctor who serves as a liaison for patients using Russian hospitals, two nurses and a secretary. All speak English.


There are no memberships, and prices for an examination and consultation run at about $80. Students get a reduced rate of $64.


The center is open from 9: 30 A. M. to 6: 30 P. M. on weekdays. Tel. 253-0703.


The Sana Medical Center is staffed by Russian gynecologists, dermatologists and an ophthalmologist. They don't speak English, however, so bring an interpreter if you need one. Prices are in hard currency or rubles. The center, located at 65 Ulitsa Nizhnaya Pervomaiskaya, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 A. M. to 8 P. M. and Sundays from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. Tel. 464-1254.


Both the American and European centers and several embassies are also referring patients to one of the three "Kremlin hospitals". These hospitals were run by the former Soviet Union's Fourth Directorate. They were staffed by the best doctors, who were often trained in the West, and had the most modern equipment to heal top officials, party bosses and their families.


They include the Kuntsevo Hospital complex located northeast of the city, the Michurinsky Hospital in Lenin Hills and the posh Granovskogo Hospital across from Red Square. Today all three have joint-venture agreements and are catering to hard-currency patients.


The Michurinsky Hospital and its ambulance service are operated by a Greek-Russian joint venture. Western doctors said they refer patients here for some surgery and general care. The Granovskogo Hospital is favored for ultrasound tests and obstetrics.


Prices at the Kremlin hospitals tend to run below Western prices, Gourraud and Druckman said. For example, an ultrasound costs $20 to $30 here, as compared to $200 in the United States. Druckman said the average


price per day is around $500 at Kuntsevo and Granovskogo.


This past year, two hospitals that were formerly only for diplomats are now open to all foreigners with cash. The Diplomatic Polyclinic, located at 4 Dobrininsky Pereulok, offers a wide range of out-patient care for adults and kids. Tel. 237-5933 for adults and 237-4004 for pediatric care. The Botkin Diplomatic Hospital, 2 Botkinsky Proyezd 5, Korpus 5, provides in patient services and dentistry. Tel. 255-0015.


For patients who are reluctant to check into local hospitals, embassies and Western clinics arrange for evacuations with nurse escorts as well as for air ambulances with medical teams.


Euro Med's 24-hour-a-day services link clients to their insurance carriers in Britain, Italy, France, Western Europe, North America, Japan, South Africa and a few South American countries, said Yury Komissarenko, Euro Med's manager.