Monday, June 2, 2008

Medical Tourism; aka Medical Outsourcing?

I posted a blog in February of this year warning against the dangers of traveling to Mexico to have dental work done. To date, I'm standing behind that article, as I don't believe that Mexico is a contender in the world market for doctors and dentists! However, as I was looking for more information to follow up on that blog, I came across some very interesting and enlightening information about the practice of traveling to other countries for medical and dental procedures. We all know that the cost of medical and dental care is becoming outrageous, and we all know that many people are either uninsured or underinsured, on fixed incomes or bogged down with financial problems not related to medical or dental. Many simply can't afford treatment, and for those people even traveling to another country is out of the question. It's unfortunate and it is unnecessary, but that is my opinion and a good blog topic for another day!
Those of us who are insured are feeling the crunch as well, with rising costs of co-payments and deductibles, and procedures or prescriptions that are no longer covered. I knew that the practice of traveling for medical and dental treatment existed, but what I didn't know was that there are actually companies out there whose sole purpose is to help you locate a state of the art facility in another country with a renouned practitioner, and who will set you up with an exotic vacation, having the procedure done during the course of your stay, all for nearly the same price as the procedure alone would cost in this country! Many of these countries are stepping up in the market today and are answering the call for quality, affordable medical and dental care by expertly trained professionals. Not to mention that there are drugs approved for use overseas that have been proven effective for treatment and are reportedly less harmful than many prescribed here in the states. Who wouldn't want to combine a vacation abroad with medical treatment if it meant you'd be getting twice the value for your money, not to mention expert care!
Some of the countries that medical tourists are traveling to for treatment are: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Costa Rica. Some of the countries they're traveling from are: The USA, Canada (due to socialized medicine and the lack of timely treatment) Europe, Japan and the Middle Eastern countries. Does this surpise you? It surprised me, but it shouldn't have. I will definitely be doing more research on this topic.

In my next blog I will be writing about the travesty befalling many of our citizens with regard to medical and dental care (or the lack thereof) in this country. Stay tuned......

2 comments:

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

I run a "dental treatment abroad" clinic in Slovakia, a small country in the center of Europe. Most of our clients are from the UK, who come over to save around 70% on their dental treatment.
Our website is http://www.dentalholiday.co.uk
Instead of being a "medical tourism" agency, we instead a functioning clinic, so you deal directly with the doctors instead of someone who doesn't know anything about dentistry and is just trying to make commission on patients travelling abroad. I believe that this system is such more successful in patient-doctor relationships and also allows us to keep our costs lower than the rest.