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Anon
Jul 6, 2007, 09:16 PM
source (http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20070706/hl_hsn/medicaltourismtakesflight;_ylt=AnAcF_0ux3NjgkVN9rc fGzPq188F)

Medical Tourism Takes Flight

By Kathleen Doheny


HealthDay Reporter
10 minutes ago



FRIDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Soaring U.S. medical costs are causing many Americans to take to the skies on "medical tourism" junkets, looking for high-quality yet low-priced health care at foreign clinics.


In many cases, patients get exactly what they are looking for, but experts also warn that the booming industry does have some risks.


"My own advice would be to look carefully at the accreditation of the hospital and consider the nature of the procedure. Are you sure it is the procedure you need? And is it done well at the place you are going?" said Dr. Ann Marie Kimball, a professor of epidemiology and health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, in Seattle.


The surge in medical tourism over the past decade is being driven by rising U.S. health-care costs and growing numbers of uninsured or under-insured Americans, said Josef Woodman, the author of a guidebook on the topic called Patients Beyond Borders.


Almost 45 million Americans, or slightly more than 15 percent of the population, are currently uninsured, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2005, the latest available.


Woodman estimated that more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care in 2006. The number is projected to double in 2007, he said.


"That 150,000 number is conservative," he said. "Some experts say 400,000." Among the top destinations: Southeast Asia and Mexico, with many other countries, such as Costa Rica, expected to be the next popular destinations for medical care.


Medical tourism companies, in collaboration with special "health travel agents," have sprung up across the country, and some insurance plans are participating in these endeavors, as well.


In California, for instance, Salud con Health Net, a program of Health Net of California, provides access to health care for their insured Latino participants for services conducted across the border in Mexico. And BlueCross/BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina now offer medical care at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, among treatment options. Bumrungrad treats more than 400,000 international patients every year.


The price savings on cross-border medical care can be dramatic. For example, one commercial medical tourism Web site (www.medicaltourism.com) estimates that a heart bypass in the United States costs $130,000, but just $10,000 in India and $11,000 in Thailand. A hip replacement in the United States would cost $43,000 but just $12,000 in Thailand or Singapore. Hysterectomy costs are about $20,000 here but $3,000 in India.


The medical tourism companies that have sprung up can help travelers find the hospital that provides the procedure or care they need. A growing number of overseas hospitals are accredited under the Joint Commission International, the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), which accredits U.S. hospitals and other facilities.


As the practice has become more common, medical tourism has evolved, Woodman said. While the practice used to be associated with vacations -- get your facelift, sit on the beach -- and sometimes still is, for most procedures, he recommended separating the surgery from the vacation.


"Even after a minor surgery, there can be swelling," Woodman said. "Most doctors will advise you to stay out of the sun after surgery."


"It's not a 'fun in the sun' gimmick," he added. "People are going overseas and getting serious surgeries."


Medical tourism isn't without some concerns, of course. Experts in the United States worry that consumers might end up getting substandard care i f they don't choose their hospital and physician carefully.


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has issued a briefing paper on the subject, cautioning potential patients that "it may be difficult to assess the training and credentials of surgeons outside of the United States." The ASPS also stressed that typical vacation activities -- which are sometimes marketed as part of a surgery trip -- should be avoided to allow for proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.


Even when patients select and book medical care abroad through a health travel agent, they must remain critical, informed health-care consumers, Woodman said.


The main thing a patient needs to do, he said, is check out the accreditation of the hospital and the credentials of the surgeon.

Spread of disease is another potential concern, said Kimball, who is also director of the APEC Asia Pacific Emerging Infectious Disease Network and author of Risky Trade: Infectious Disease in the Era of Global Trade.

"Medical tourism is obviously a route for pathogen spread," Kimball said, noting that different hospitals in different regions may have different types of flora. "The extent to which it's a problem versus a theoretical concern is as yet not known," she said. "I can't issue a blank 'go' or 'don't go,'" she added.

Kimball's advice: Look carefully at the accreditation of the hospital concerned and do your homework before you board the plane. "Check out the number of surgeries done, the success rates," Woodman added. It's also key to ask the surgeon you talk to if he or she will perform the operation, not an assistant.

Kimball said she urges potential medical tourists to talk it over with their own physician. As the concept and the practice of medical tourism has evolved, she said, a physician is not likely to automatically rule out the idea.

More information

There's more on medical tourism at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

ada
Jul 7, 2007, 06:05 AM
I think you have to be really careful, ive heard a lot of horror stories as well. Although saying that I got my teeth done in bangkok last year for about a fifth of the price. I think you have to do your research.

wilton
Jul 7, 2007, 07:29 AM
Yes Medical tourism is the future and particularly India's private healthcare system has made tremendous progress. The availability of low cost - high quality medical care at the state of the art, internationally accredited hospitals like Wockhardt Hospitals Group - which is a part of Harvard Medical International is poised to make India a "global healthcare destination"

Recently one of my uncles went to India for hip surgery at Wockhardt Hospitals and his whole experience was really positive. The only option otherwise for him was to mortgage his house and raise money for surgery at local hospital. So many US patients are now taking this option, just check out testimonials on following weblink

http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/general/pat_exp.asp

a.helene@gmail.com
Jul 7, 2007, 09:51 AM
It is really surprising to know the duration of time patients have to wait for an appointment with the doctor. With increased waiting list and expensive procedures, it is increasingly difficult to afford the time and money. I think that the Indian private healthcare system can be truly described as being state-of-the-art. The Indian expertise in healthcare, the entire experience of low cost surgery / treatment in internationally accredited hospitals, fast track recovery amidst a very pleasant and caring environment has put India on the global medical tourism map.Since it is also one of the most favourable tourist destinations in the world, Medication combines with tourism has come into effect, from which the concept of Medical Tourism is derived.
For instance in India's Wockhardt hospitals, medical treatment is not only fast but also costs a fraction of what it costs in USA or Europe. Even tele-consultancy is available for expert opinion and transmission facilities.Wockhardt Hospitals Group is associated with Harvard Medical International which enables the hospital to provide world class clinical expertise and excellent patient care backed by latest technology, multi-disciplinary capability and world class infrastructure and it is JCI accredited. Wockhardt one of the major players attracting international patients from US, UK and Canada. Add to this very little waiting time, excellent comforts and the best medical facilities and you get a very attractive option to perform all sorts of specialized medical treatments.Wockhardt Heart Hospital, Brain & Spine Hospital,Eye Hospital, Bone & Joint Hospital, Minimal Access Surgery Hospital,Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute, Kolkatta, Wockhardt Liver Transplantation and Digestive Disease Centre, Hip Resurfacing Centre, Joint Replacement Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery Centre, Trans Nasal Brain Tumor Surgery, PELD- Minimal, Access Slipped Disk Surgery, Obesity Surgery Centre, Peripheral & Vascular Disease Centre, Parkinson's Disease Centre, Surgical Oncology (Cancer Surgery). Speciality Clinics like Diabetes Clinic, Backache & Spine Clinic, Arthritis & Joint Pain Clinic, Parkinson's Clinic,ENT etc are a part of the Wockhardt group.

Please visit the link below to read the international patients' experiences.
http://www.wockhardthospitals.net/general/pat_exp.asp

Anon
Jul 29, 2007, 11:33 PM
Another form of Medical Tourism, in reverse... this time the doctors are the ones travelling all over to dispense treatment and medication.

Thisday Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=84748)
Italians Arrive Nigeria with Drugs, Doctors
By Chinedu Eze, 07.29.2007

A religous body from Rome, Italy, known as Association Opera Don Bonifacio Azione Verde has arrived Nigeria with huge quantities of drugs worth million of Naira and medical experts to treat about 3000 patients of various diseases in Imo state.
The body with members made up of devout Catholics are also in Nigeria to establish school where children could obtain free education.
Speaking to journalists at the Murtala Mohammed Airport on their way to Owerri, the leader of the religious group, Father Boniface Duru, said that the 25 volunteers who arrived in Nigeria with him came to render humanitarian service to Nigerian citizens.
Father Duru who said that the group has been visiting Nigeria to attend to the sick in the past identified diabetes and hypertention as major killer diseases in the country now, regretting that diabetes was an imported ailment that is now ravaging Nigerians added that this time the group will devote time to treat sick children.
He stated that they had the permission of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) after the drug regulatory body had certified the drugs. "We have general practitioners, in the last five years we discovered that the level of sickness and the type of sickness, so what we do is to bring in different specialists and we also look for more attention for the children we will bring in pediatricians. We discovered a lot of diabetes in Nigeria; we discovered that there are a lot of hypertensive patients in Nigeria".

He disclosed that over N25 million had already been expended on their humanitarian project in Nigeria.

"As of now we are on a Journey of hope, we do it by this time of the year, but we are already working on a very big project in Imo state, we are building a poly-functional centre in the state, including a primary school, a secondary school, and there will be a clinic with other activities and we have actually concluded some of the buildings as you can see from the leaflet we distributed to you"

ada
Jul 30, 2007, 12:55 AM
Another form of Medical Tourism, in reverse... this time the doctors are the ones travelling all over to dispense treatment and medication.

Thisday Newspaper (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=84748)
Italians Arrive Nigeria with Drugs, DoctorsBy Chinedu Eze, 07.29.2007

A religous body from Rome, Italy, known as Association Opera Don Bonifacio Azione Verde has arrived Nigeria with huge quantities of drugs worth million of Naira and medical experts to treat about 3000 patients of various diseases in Imo state.
The body with members made up of devout Catholics are also in Nigeria to establish school where children could obtain free education.
Speaking to journalists at the Murtala Mohammed Airport on their way to Owerri, the leader of the religious group, Father Boniface Duru, said that the 25 volunteers who arrived in Nigeria with him came to render humanitarian service to Nigerian citizens.
Father Duru who said that the group has been visiting Nigeria to attend to the sick in the past identified diabetes and hypertention as major killer diseases in the country now, regretting that diabetes was an imported ailment that is now ravaging Nigerians added that this time the group will devote time to treat sick children.
He stated that they had the permission of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) after the drug regulatory body had certified the drugs. "We have general practitioners, in the last five years we discovered that the level of sickness and the type of sickness, so what we do is to bring in different specialists and we also look for more attention for the children we will bring in pediatricians. We discovered a lot of diabetes in Nigeria; we discovered that there are a lot of hypertensive patients in Nigeria".

He disclosed that over N25 million had already been expended on their humanitarian project in Nigeria.

"As of now we are on a Journey of hope, we do it by this time of the year, but we are already working on a very big project in Imo state, we are building a poly-functional centre in the state, including a primary school, a secondary school, and there will be a clinic with other activities and we have actually concluded some of the buildings as you can see from the leaflet we distributed to you"




aren't those are called missionaries ??:biggrin:

Anon
Jul 30, 2007, 01:00 AM
aren't those are called missionaries ??:biggrin:

:lol: :lol: yeah right!