Frequently Asked Questions

We understand better than anyone the complex situations that families face when traveling abroad for healthcare. The multilingual case coordinators in our International Center have decades of combined experience with international patients and are available to address your concerns and answer all of your questions. Here are some of the most common questions families ask:

General Information

When is the International Center open? 

The International Center is open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time), or by appointment. Case coordinators who speak multiple languages are available during those times.

How do I arrange interpreter services for people in my family who do not speak English?

Our team of interpreters is available to attend appointments with you. In addition, the case coordinators in the International Center can assist you in Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and a number of other languages.

Patient Care

How do I obtain credentials and background information for the physician who will be taking care of my child?

Our website has clinical profiles of all physicians and nurses on staff at the hospital. For additional information on any of our health professionals, contact the International Center at 1-617-355-5209 or international.center@childrens.harvard.edu.

Are appointments with specialists and other specialty medical services for my child automatically covered by my insurance/payment plan?

It depends on your coverage and the type of specialty. If your child is sponsored by a government, specialty services are covered if the medical need is related to the primary diagnosis. Services and care that aren't related to the primary diagnosis may not be covered, however. Contact your government health ministry representative or embassy for more information.

If your child is individually insured, specialty services may or may not be covered, depending on the terms of the insurance policy. Our case coordinators can help you verify eligibility for additional services.

How do I request medication for my child (the patient)?

In the United States, most medications require a prescription signed by a physician. If you have a prescription signed by one of your treating physicians, you can bring it to any pharmacy to have it filled. For your convenience, an outpatient pharmacy is located in the main hospital building, on the first floor of the Pavilion Building.

What should I do if I have to cancel an appointment?

Due to the high demand for our services, appointments can be difficult to book on short notice. We therefore ask that you make every effort to keep your appointments. However, we understand that urgent situations may arise that require you to reschedule. If this should happen, please notify the International Center as soon as possible and ask to be rescheduled. Failure to arrive at scheduled appointments may lead to a disruption in your child's plan of care.

What should I do and whom should I contact in case of emergency?

If you are at Boston Children's Hospital, notify any hospital staff member of the emergency. If you are not at the hospital, dial 911 from any phone to reach emergency services and contact the physician caring for your child as soon as possible.

Healthcare for Family Members

Are the family members of a patient also covered for healthcare while in Boston? If not, where can they seek care?

Children and adolescents traveling with the primary patient can receive medical care at Boston Children's Hospital. However, their care needs to be coordinated separately with the insurance provider or sponsoring government.

Parents and other adult family members can seek care at one of the many world-class hospitals located nearby. We can help to arrange adult care at another hospital as needed.

Can I request medication for other family members? What is the process to do this?

We recommend that families plan ahead and travel to Boston with enough medication for the expected duration of their stay. If a family member does need medication while in Boston, we will help to make the necessary arrangements.

Getting to and Around Boston

When should I book travel to Boston?

We recommend that you do not book travel to Boston until we have confirmed your initial appointment for consultation and evaluation.

What are the options for transportation from the airport?

Taxis are readily available at the airport and operate with a reliable meter system. If you wish to be picked up at the airport by a Boston Children's Hospital representative who speaks your language, please contact the International Center at 1-617-355-5209 or international.center@childrens.harvard.edu.

How can I get oriented to life in Boston?

We offer a variety of concierge services that help you get to know the city and your neighborhood. We can provide assistance with local shopping, transportation, cultural activities, household needs such as childcare and laundry, and more.

How do I set up a local bank account?

We can provide you with information and help you open an account with a bank in the Boston area.

How do I get a mobile phone and set up voicemail?

There are many options for getting a U.S. mobile phone and setting up voicemail. It is important to have a voicemail system in place so the hospital can reach you when needed. Please contact the International Center for more information about getting a mobile phone and setting up voicemail.