Turn Five

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The medical tourism trend

Medical tourism, sometimes called medical travel or health tourism is a growing trend — just look at www.surgeonabroad.com.

The term refers to traveling abroad to receive medical care instead of staying in your home country. Patients do this mostly because the cost of the medical care is significantly less expensive then it would be if they had a procedure in their country.

About fifty countries now list medical tourism as one of their national industries. Most people leaving their country to receive medical care are doing so because they need procedures that are seen as more elective and not necessity.

These procedures include things like: dental surgery, knee and joint replacement, dental surgery and cosmetic surgery.

Wait times for procedures and costs are driving patients to have things like weight loss surgery abroad. Americans are especially flocking to Mexico to have weight loss surgery because the cost is much lower than having a comparable surgery in the United States.

Gastric bypass Mexico based surgery can be a lot cheaper and patients can recover on the beach. Lap band surgery in Mexico can cost almost half as much as it would in the United States.

However, patients should always look into the doctors and hospitals that they choose to have their procedure with. That is the case no matter where you have your surgery. In your home country or abroad check out the credentials of your physician.

You may even find that there are many doctors abroad who have been trained and held their residencies in the United States.

Surgery is an important and risky thing to consider no matter where you have it. Do proper research and consult doctors at home before you decide to have a procedure. You want to be a well-informed patient. And when it comes to your health, it’s always important to be out spoken and informed.

posted by Aisha in Health and have Comments (3)

3 comments

  1. Comment by Lee on July 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Careful research will reap you rewards when it comes to Weight Loss Surgery Abroad. Patients can reduce their research headaches by going through a reputable medical travel company like WorldMed Assist. It can be overwhelming to find the best country/hospital/doctor for the procedure needed. WorldMed Assist only partners with hospitals after multi-day, on-site screening. Many of the top surgeons in their partner network were trained in the U.S., and most hospitals have affiliations with renowned US medical centers such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical. Hospitals are squeaky clean, and all their patients have rated their overseas accommodations as five star.

  2. Comment by Ves Gitchev, MD on July 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Patients have and continue to travel to US seeking treatment in the “elite” institutions.
    However, those are patients with International Health Insurance coverage. Though most come looking for a life saving procedure like Cancer or Gama knife treatment, Organ transplant or Brain surgery, there are those who travel simply because they can. And that includes Well checks visits and Elective procedures.
    With that said, the largest flow of patients in Outbound. There are millions of non-insured or under-insured right here in the US who are in need of medical attention.
    Medical Tourism sometimes is their only option. Certainly not the first choice, but a lot of times the only choice.
    Facilitators like Worldwide Medical Partners (WMP) in Miami, even provide Financing options to cover all expenses. And while the cost of a procedure is often reduced by more than half, quality is not.
    There are scores of US trained/educated physicians who opt not to practice, at least not here.
    I know, I am one of them.
    Rising costs of seemingly everything combined with decreasing reimbursements from the insurance carriers are enough for a lot of my peers to say, enough. Some right of the graduation podium.
    Medical Tourism is a very viable option for receiving world class healthcare at greatly reduced cost.
    Just do your homework, or better yet, have somebody like WMP to do it for you, at no cost.
    Medical Tourism is not the solution to the Healthcare crisis in US or elsewhere, but merely a temporary patch on the way to recovery. The long way to recovery.
    It is not a “Black Market” or a Cesspool of healthcare rejects, but an intricate piece of Globalization of Medicine.

  3. Comment by medical tourism on July 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    The term “medical tourism” isn’t as luxurious as you might at first believe. While some people associate tourism with “vacations” and “trips” the term actually applies to individuals who travel to foreign countries to obtain health care that is either not available or unaffordable in their own country.

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