America's First Newsletter for the Medical Traveler 
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Hot Spot Destinations

New Zealand

  • First world, English speaking country
  • Costs are 25-40% of U.S. costs
  • Recuperate in areas of natural beauty and tranquility
  • Medical system similar to the U.S.
  • Wide range of procedures performed in various hospitals accredited by the The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua)

For more information on medical travel to New Zealand, vists www.medtral.com.

Singapore

  • Approx. 410,000 people visited in 2006 for medical care alone
  • Known for its beautiful sites and booming economy
  • Consists of superb medical centers and specialty hospitals
  • Home to many medical firsts
  • Costs are 60-80% less than the U.S.

To learn more about medical travel to Singapore, visit www.parkwayhealth.com.



Travel Tips



What would a vacation be like if you left the camera at home? Or ran out of an important prescription when miles away from home? People are often flustered and have the feeling theyíve left something important behind when preparing to travel.
Read more...



Legal Issues Facing the Medical Traveler


 
More Americans are seeking treatment abroad each year, with the number increasing at a rate of 15-20 percent per year. Patients without insurance, or those seeking procedures that may not be covered, such as cosmetic surgery, are among those most likely to travel for healthcare.
Read more...



Latest Headlines in Medical Tourism:

 
BridgeHealth International Announces its World-Class Provider Networkô
Business Wire - April 28
Responding to the growing demand among employers, health plans and other stakeholders for a comprehensive, ìworld-classî network of international healthcare centers of excellence, BridgeHealth International, Inc. (BridgeHealth) today unveiled its initial system of providers comprised of over 25 hospitals and 600 physicians, dentists and health professionals in over 10 countries.

Health Tourism booms in Tunisia
Magharebia - April 11
The waiting room at cosmetic surgeon Taher Djemal's Tunis clinic is a busy place these days. It is filled with Tunisians, Moroccans and Europeans of all shapes and sizes.

Medical Tourism Emerges as New Growth Engine
The Korea Times - March 25
One day in February, Kang Won-kyung, 50, who runs a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul, gave a final treatment to his Filipino patient who had undergone a facelift at the hospital and was scheduled to leave for her homeland the following day.

India attractive destination for health tourism: Study
The Economic Times - April 3
Indian corporate hospitals are well equipped, proficient and could measure up to or even outshine any hospital in the West, making the nation an attractive destination for health tourism, a Planning Commission report released on Wednesday said.

Going abroad for surgery proving cheaper, just as safe and fun
Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel - April 27
The prospect of getting two root canals at a time didn't scare Lisa Stewart. The price tag was another story.
Stewart, who does medical billing out of her home in Jackman, did not have health insurance, or the $4,000 to $5,000 she was told she would have to pay out of her own pocket.

 

   
 

Dear Medical Traveler,

Welcome to Your Medical Travel: your resource for tips and information on the newest topics in medical tourism.

Questions? Comments? Contact Amy Rohrbeck at editor@yourmedicaltravel.com

Visit our Web site www.yourmedicaltravel.com for more information on The Consumer Medical Tourism Expo in Las Vegas.

What is a medical tourism company?

A medical tourism company is a healthcare service which offers patients the opportunity to travel outside of their home country to obtain medical care, most often for a largely discounted price.

With many people traveling overseas for medical care, medical tourism companies have emerged to help patients arrange medical and travel arrangements. 

Many companies now have on-call staff 24/7 for patients traveling for medical procedures. Companion programs are also often available, with spa packages and other amenities to keep the patient's travel companion at ease.


Cost Comparison for Medical Tourists
 

Procedure

     U.S.

  India

Thailand

Singapore

Heart bypass

$130,000

$10,000

$11,000

$18,500

Heart valve replacement

$160,000

$ 9,000

$10,000

$12,500

Angioplasty

$ 57,000

$11,000

$13,000

$13,000

Hip replacement

$ 43,000

$ 9,000

$12,000

$12,000

Hysterectomy

$ 20,000

$ 3,000

$ 4,500

$ 6,000

Knee replacement

$ 40,000

$ 8,500

$10,000

$13,000

Spinal fusion

$ 62,000

$ 5,500

$ 7,000

$ 9,000

Source: American Medical Association, June 2007

Solving Addiction Problems Overseas



Disappointed by treatment results in the U.S., North Americans are accessing care at treatment centers abroad. Today, people have the chance to kick their addictions in long-term programs located in exotic or tropical settings.

Patients seeking privacy and confidentiality can now receive treatment for drug, alcohol, gambling and other addictions in a relaxing, productive environment. Countries like Israel, India and Thailand are offering long-term programs to international patients.

International Medical Services Global, Ltd. (IMS), a global healthcare firm specializing in medical tourism in Israel, recently introduced a long-term substance abuse program operated by the largest clinic in Israel and the Middle East. Located in northern Israel on a Moshav, a type of cooperative agricultural community, the facility has a nearby motel for family members who choose to visit during appropriate timeframes.

The work-study program, which offers patients three- to eight-month programs, boasts low rates of recidivism at costs significantly lower than U.S. rehab facilities: $5,500 USD per month includes housing, food, activities and all services. These programs are already making a huge difference in the lives of people who may have tried the traditional U.S. 28-day programs.

For further information about rehabilitation in Israel, visit http://www.medicaltourismforyou.com/drugrehab.htm 

Why is offshore medical care so inexpensive?

Low cost is the most common reason that American patients consider traveling to other countries for medical care. This article explains the reasons why care in many medical tourism destinations is so much more affordable than the same services in the United States and other industrialized countries.

The most important factor in the affordability of medical tourism is the difference in the level of economic development between the patientís home country and the destination where care is provided.

Patients maximize the value of their money when they choose to have healthcare procedures done in countries that are economically different from the country where they live ñ up to a point. This is why developing countries are such popular medical tourism destinations.

Michael D. Horowitz, MD, MBA, Physician-economist, Exerpts from Medical Travel Today, Volume 1, Issue 1.  michael_horowitz@mac.com

Health Tips for Medical Travelers: Avoiding Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)




Deep Vein Thrombosis
, or DVT, is a blood clot that forms in the legs, sometimes moving to the lungs where it could potentially be fatal.

 

The Mayo Clinic advises: anyone can develop blood clots and subsequent pulmonary embolism ó together known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

 

The risk of VTE roughly doubles with flights greater than four hours and increases with longer flights or repeated flights within a short period of time. The risk of developing VTE is greatest immediately following the flight, but persists for several weeks afterwards.

 

How can you, as a medical traveler, reduce your risk of blood clot formation? 

 

Exercise: Walk briskly for at least half an hour before take-off. Exercise the calf muscles every half hour by flexing and rotating the ankles for a few minutes. Walk up and down the aisle every 2 hours at least.

 

Posture: When seated in the airplane keep the backs of your knees clear of the edge of your seat. Avoid stowing hand luggage under the seat if it restricts movement. Take a long, slow, deep breath in through your nose and a full exhale through your mouth a few times every hour throughout the flight.

 

Diet & Habits: Donít smoke (ever). Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and diet sodas. Sleep only for short periods and do not take sleeping pills that could keep you motionless for hours. Before your return flight home ask your surgeon if you need an anticoagulant.

 

Clothing: Wear elastic flight socks or support stockings (this is particularly important for passengers with varicose veins). Donít let full leg length support stockings roll into a tight band behind your knee. Wear loose-fitting clothing.

 

Stephanie Sulger RN, MS, CIPC of BridgeHealth International, Exerpts from Medical Travel Today, Volume 1, Issue 1. ssulger@bridgehealthinternational.com


Travel Tips (continued)
 

Patients may be so focused on their upcoming trip for a procedure overseas, they might not realize what they should pack for their trip. While people have their own ideas of what to bring, here is a list of some important items to remember when traveling for a medical procedure:

Medical Information
Be sure to bring a copy of your medical history, any advance paperwork from the hospital or your medical tourism agent and travel documents (itineraries, airline tickets, reservations and passports). It is important to have a copy of everything with you, even if your information has already been sent to the hospital.

Prescription Medications
Any prescription medications you are taking, as well as a list of what you take and the dosage. This will help ensure the physician does not prescribe anything that might counteract with your current medications.

Over the Counter Medications
It may be a good idea to bring along pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen and antacid tablets for before your surgery. Remember to always check with your physician and nurses before taking anything on your own. Also, first aid supplies (bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment, etc.) may come in handy.

Clothing
To reduce your risk of getting sick on the flight to or from your destination, anti-pollution or respiratory masks are inexpensive and great protection against germs. Donít forget comfortable, loose clothing for before and after your procedure. They will make you feel at ease and keep bandages or scars undisturbed.

Water
If you drink a lot of water, a water filtration system or water purification tablets may be a good option. This is not to say the hospitalís water will be dirty, but a recovering stomach might be aggravated by change from your usual water.

If you are using a medical tourism agency to book your procedure, ask them to provide you with a checklist of what to bring and also what you can expect during your trip. It is also important to enlist a friend, neighbor or family member to watch over your house while youíre gone.

 
Legal Issues Facing the Medical Traveler (continued)

The reason is clear: Medical tourism could provide a means to lower healthcare costs. For a host of reasons, care in foreign countries is usually much cheaper than it is in the United States. 

We must recognize, however, that cheaper care could also prove to be inferior care. If avoidable complications arise after a procedure, all the savings resulting from having it done elsewhere may prove misleading. There are excellent hospitals abroad, often staffed with highly capable, well-trained personnel, but the risk is real. 

Legal issues when dealing with medical tourism are challenging. The first issue to come to mind is professional liability. American matchmaking companies, which help U.S. patients find and travel to foreign hospitals and clinics, are generally not health care providers themselves, and so by definition are incapable of medical malpractice. They could, nevertheless, be liable to claims of negligence, however, if someone claimed harm from the companyís failure to exercise due care.

It is unlikely that a patient claiming injury from treatment abroad will find it easy to bring the foreign doctor or hospital into an American court. Compensation, if available at all, will probably be available only in foreign jurisdiction and will be stingy by U.S. standards.

By no means are these observations an indictment of foreign health care. Even in very fine hospitals, however, things sometimes go wrong. 

Americans should understand that their legal remedies abroad may be more limited than would be the case with a domestic hospital. American medicine, while expensive, is world-class. The decision to seek care abroad should not be made lightly.

Joseph McMenamin, Exerpts from Medical Travel Today, Volume 1, Issue 1. jmcmenamin@mcguirewoods.com  

 
           
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Copyright © 2008 Your Medical Travel is published by CPR Communications.
Information in this newsletter should not be considered as medical advice.