October 21, 2020 – “Free digital nomad healthcare in Dubrovnik for 12 months.” It was certainly the headline of the opening day of Croatia’s first digital nomad conference. But what did Glavic Clinic mean exactly? TCN asks the woman who made the commitment, Nikolina Kurtela, Deputy Director of Glavic Clinic.
It was the shortest presentation of the day, one of the funniest, and definitely the one which provoked the most comment as attendees on the first day of the recent Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference retired for a well-earned glass of wine after a stimulating opening day.
The slide said it all, and it was hard to misread – All services in Glavic Clinic Dubrovnik – free services for one year to all digital nomads!
Reaction was immediate, both at the conference (wow!) to more skeptical responses on social media.
“One can only imagine what Croatia will charge for the visa if there is free healthcare,” commented one. To be clear, this is not a general announcement of free healthcare by every provider in Dubrovnik, it is an announcement from one clinic.
What did it mean exactly, and who can apply for the free services? Rather than try and answer myself, I thought it would make much more sense to ask the lady who made the announcement. I am very grateful to Nikolina Kurtela for finding the time to answer my email questions in search of clarification.
- You gave a presentation on behalf of Glavic Clinic at the recent Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference. Tell us firstly why you decided to take part in and be a sponsor in such a conference?
That’s right, during the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference, Glavic Clinic participated as a speaker and as a sponsor. Although otherwise as a Polyclinic very much we work in a humanitarian manner and with free work, helping many patients and people in need, event sponsorship is not part of our firm policy. Nevertheless, we recognized the Digital Nomads Conference as a top project connecting proactive and smart people around the world and presenting Croatia, especially Dubrovnik as a city, where one can find a second home and continue to operate a successful business.
- How much do you know about the digital nomad concept, and how do you see the opportunity for Croatia in general and Dubrovnik in particular?
I have to admit that before Digital Nomads conference I had much less knowledge than now. All the information I had was mostly from the media, but working on the project and the idea throughout preparations for the presentation delighted. In this project, we recognized a great opportunity to help the City of Dubrovnik position itself as a nomad-friendly city that is open to all business people who want to move their home office to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Dubrovnik is still oriented towards seasonal tourism that lasts 4-5 months, I think this is great way to get to Dubrovnik and we are developing year-round tourism and service provision in Croatia, which would certainly help to preserve a larger number of permanent jobs 365 days a year.
- And now tell us more about THAT announcement. Free 12-month healthcare for digital nomads coming to Dubrovnik. Are you crazy? Some initial reaction to this is that this is some kind of scam to grab publicity.
Hahaha, I think a little craziness is always good in life, but I would like to mention the „main man role“ for this “crazy idea” is being played by the director of Glavic Clinic dr. Joško Glavić. During our conversations about the Digital Nomads project, he said he wanted to do something special and help all the nomads who choose Dubrovnik as their base feel welcome and safe in the healthcare segment that we know is often the biggest concern for all travelers and foreign nationals.
No, the idea is not a scam or an attempt to grab publicity because it is commonly known that as a Polyclinic, we normally avoid being in the media. The idea is just a continuation of our humanitarian work and helping people, in this case digital nomads.
- It sounds a great headline. Please clarify EXACTLY what you mean, and what digital nomads have to do to qualify? Is it just for nomads in Dubrovnik or elsewhere?
Therefore, in order to exercise the right to free services at the Glavic Dubrovnik Polyclinic, Digital nomads must have a visa for digital nomads and choose Dubrovnik as their place to live for a year during which they will have all our services available free of charge. (Editor note: the visa is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2021.)
- Glavic Clinic has a reputation for humanitarian acts. Tell us a little about that, as well as the services you offer, and your European expansion plans.
Glavić Clinic is the only clinic in this part of Europe that deals with robotic neurorehabilitation patients with neurological impairments and movement and motor difficulties in most commonly diagnosed cases with cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, trauma heads and numerous others. Aware that we live in a part of Europe that is not the strongest in terms of income and that we have many economically vulnerable citizens, we want this concept treatment to be available to all.
Precisely because of that, in both centers, and it will be the same in the new centers, 30% of our patients are in a completely free program and they are being rehabilitated without payment, besides that during the year we organize 2-3 major charity actions. Health is wealth and that is why we try to provide it to the most endangered patients and there are our patients in the humanitarian program from Croatia and neighboring countries are often orphans, homeless people, national minorities, etc.
Given the uniqueness of the treatment concept and the successful results, due to which we are known as a reference center for the EMEA region, we want to expand our business beyond Croatia and we are currently in the process of leading the opening project in Madrid and Amsterdam as well as the USA. But unfortunately, as with everyone else, the Covid pandemic has slowed us down and made our travel and operational work more difficult. We are sure that by expanding abroad and in our foreign clinics we will benefit services of Digital Nomads and continue the chain of connecting and networking smart and capable people.
- This was the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia. Tell us how it was for you – what struck you the most?
This conference, for me was a wonderful experience where I met a lot of smart and enthusiastic people who are certainly one of the drivers of change in the world. I was most struck/suprised by all the positive energy and preparedness of the system and the Republic of Croatia to really attract digital nomads to our country and show them all the beauties of life in Croatia, which I partly explained to you in the presentation.
You can learn more about the services of Glavić Clinic on the official website. I am sure they would be happy to answer your digital nomad healthcare questions as well.
More from the conference:
For the latest about the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN news section.