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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    medical tourism

    Thought I would share this with all of you!
    I have copied and pasted the email here

    In 2003 I noticed a growing trend called "medical tourism" where patients
    from developed countries were traveling to countries such as India for low
    cost surgery. Now a new term is gaining ground, it's called "global

    "Global healthcare is coming and American healthcare, which
    is pricing itself out of reach, needs to know there are

    In the newsletter "Jerusalem's radiographers, Vietnam's architects" I
    speculated that one day patients might not have a choice where their
    surgery is done: "Perhaps HMOs will soon require US patients to fly to
    India to get heart surgery." At that time patients were voluntarily going
    to go to other countries in order to reduce their medical expenses, but
    there were some things going on in Britain that indicated the voluntary
    nature of offshored healthcare was going to change. That same year, a
    delegation of Indian doctors went to London to talk to British Prime
    Minister Tony Blair's medical advisers on the virtues of flying surgery
    patients from the United Kingdom to Mumbai for low cost surgery. It was
    only a matter of time before United States employers followed the trend.

    Newsletters with more information: ... ws2003.htm
    2003 08-21 Jerusalem's radiographers Vietnam's architects
    2003 10-08 Will UK and US Offshore Surgery

    The following article is making the rounds in many newspapers. Just in case
    you feel uneasy about the concept of medical tourism, I included a second
    article that says this practice has been going on since the days of ancient
    Greece -- so not to worry!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +

    or ... story?coll

    from the August 16, 2006 edition

    Companies explore overseas healthcare
    To cut its insurance costs, a US papermaker plans to let workers seek
    medical care abroad in 2007.
    By Patrik Jonsson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

    Carl Garrett, a paper-mill technician in Leicester, N.C., is scheduled to
    travel Sept. 2 to New Delhi, where he will undergo two operations. Though
    American individuals have gone abroad for cheaper operations, Mr. Garrett
    is a pioneer of sorts.

    He is a test case for his company, Blue Ridge Paper Products, Inc., in
    North Carolina, which is set to provide a health benefit plan that allows
    its employees and their dependents to obtain medical care overseas
    beginning in 2007.

    "It's brand-new and nobody's ever heard of going to India or even South
    Carolina for an operation, so it's all pretty foreign to people here," says
    Garrett. "It's a frontier."

    Garrett's medical care alone may save the company $50,000. And instead of
    winding up $20,000 in debt to have the operations in the US, he may now get
    up to $10,000 back as a share of the savings. He'll also get to see the Taj
    Mahal as part of a two-day tour before the surgery.

    His two operations could cost $100,000 in the US; they'll run about $20,000
    in India.

    With US health insurance costs soaring, cash-squeezed companies such as
    Blue Ridge and poor states such as West Virginia are considering affordable
    plans that may require their employees to travel to India, Thailand, or

    Critics say that limited malpractice laws in foreign countries makes such
    travel risky as well as the prospect of spending 20 hours on an airplane
    after invasive surgery. Despite the concerns, "medical tourism" is morphing
    into "global healthcare."

    "Global healthcare is coming and American healthcare, which is pricing
    itself out of reach, needs to know there are alternatives" in order to
    improve, says Alain Enthoven, senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy
    in Stanford, Calif.

    The average American hospital bill was $6,280 in 2004, twice that of other
    Western countries, according to the National Coalition on Health Care
    (NCHC) in Washington.

    The cost savings have prompted a few hundred Americans this year to fly to
    India, Jakarta, or Bangkok for serious medical conditions, receiving heart
    stints and hip replacements. But most of the some 150,000 "medical
    tourists" nationwide go for a tooth filling or plastic surgery and a week
    at a sunny beach resort where the dollar stretches like lycra.

    More companies - especially those with smaller company-run plans - are
    investigating people's claims of good overseas hospital care. The
    International Standards Organization in Geneva accredits these hospitals
    and audits American hospitals, too.

    Companies are also attracted to the relatively inexpensive price tag for
    care at foreign hospitals, which have been reported to be up to 80 percent
    less than in the US. In New Delhi, for example, the Apollo chain of
    hospitals gives resort-style convalescence care for $87 a night.

    . Insurers Health Net of California already contracts with medical
    clinics on the Mexico side of the US border.

    . A West Virginia state legislator introduced a bill this year that would
    encourage state workers to seek treatment overseas using incentives such as
    cash bonuses and family travel.

    . United Group Programs in Florida, which administers self-insurance
    programs for small companies, has contracted with a Thailand hospital for
    its employer clients.

    . Inquiries from self-insured employers are brisk at IndUShealth in
    Raleigh, N.C., which specializes in offshoring serious medical cases such
    as rotator cuff surgery and gall bladder removal to India.

    "We're dealing mostly with companies that are self-funded and have
    essentially run out of options," says IndUShealth president Tom Keesling.
    "It's an amazing trend, and it speaks to the tremendous frustration people
    feel with how to provide healthcare services in our current environment."

    Blue Ridge Paper Products, which makes the DairyPak milk carton, pleaded
    unsuccessfully with providers for discounts for its 5,000 covered workers.
    In the past five years, the company established its own clinic and
    pharmacy. Blue Ridge decided to try overseas healthcare after it heard that
    hospitals "rolled out the red carpet" to American patients based on news
    reports and personal accounts from a North Carolina medical traveler
    brought in by IndUShealth.

    "We want to help our company but also help to drive healthcare reform,"
    says Darrell Douglas, vice president of human resources. "We're very much
    homebodies ... and the idea of going abroad for fun, let alone healthcare,
    is foreign to some people. But we do have some adventuresome people, and
    [Mr. Garrett] is one."

    For critics, Americans heading overseas for care shows the severity of the
    country's healthcare crisis - especially as employers' health insurance
    premiums have risen 73 percent while average employee contributions have
    risen 143 percent since 2000, according to the NCHC. Rising costs stem from
    poor management, inefficiences, waste, fraud, and lack of competition,
    critics say.

    "We're seeing some employers who are seriously beginning to think about
    doing [global healthcare] and not giving employees an option," says Joel
    Miller, vice president of operations at the NCHC. "And that has
    implications for quality of care, and what recourse people have if
    something goes wrong overseas."

    Hospital officials say only a sliver of business will be lost to overseas
    providers. Yet going overseas for expensive medical services, such as heart
    bypass surgery, cut into US hospitals profit centers - such as heart units
    - that are used to underwrite emergency rooms and indigent care.

    "[Global healthcare] will limit the amount of money that's available for
    everybody else to have access to the system and starts to jeopardize access
    to healthcare for everybody in the community," says Don Dalton, a spokesman
    for the North Carolina Hospital Association.

    Garrett, meanwhile, anticipates movie-star treatment in India. Doctors will
    operate on his gall bladder and left shoulder, he says, and he will have a
    24-hour nurse working only for him while he's recovering. Garrett's
    experience could affect whether Blue Ridge will proceed with its plan to
    give its workers the option of going overseas for medical care, the company
    says. "Everyone can see this thing could really become a big thing, so
    they're going to go out of their way to make sure everything is above and
    beyond the average in the United States," Garrett says.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +

    Medical Tourism: Advantages Of Offshore Health Care
    By: Christine Macguire

    Medical Tourism can be defined as the provision for patients to travel
    offshore in search of faster, cost-effective and safer medical and surgical
    procedures. A combination of various different factors have led many people
    from industrialized countries to migrate in order to get high quality
    medical treatment. The various reasons are the cost issues, ease and
    affordability of international travel, long frustrating queues in many
    nations and above all improving technology standards of health care in many
    countries of the world. Both the health sector and the tourism industry
    help to facilitate the process in these countries.

    The concept of medical tourism actually traces back to ancient Greece,
    where pilgrims and patients from all over the Mediterranean came to the
    sanctuary of healing god, Asklepios, at Epidaurus. In the 18th century the
    wealthy Europeans from Germany traveled to the Mediterranean spas. The 21st
    century has taken the medical tourism industry beyond the wealthy and the
    desperate providing low cost treatment and transportation services. The
    leisure, fun and relaxation together with health care attached to it have
    made medical tourism a common form of vacation.

    Medical tourism presents an opportunity for hospitals to tap the potential
    of the international healthcare market and eventually leverage their
    business. The advancement of medical technology, increased transportation
    facilities and necessity of immediate quality healthcare has encouraged the
    healthcare providers to go global. Medical tourists travel great distances
    to seek world-class doctors and hospitals. The healthcare providers
    worldwide are investing to acquire the cutting edge technology and venture
    into the areas of latest medical research. They even provide lucrative
    non-medical services such as hospitality services, spa facilities, and
    pick-up services to facilitate the stay and treatment of their
    international clientele.

    One major reason that medical tourism is attractive to many people is that
    it offers medical treatments at a comparatively low cost. Moreover the
    public healthcare systems in developed countries are very much overburdened
    and traveling to foreign land for immediate treatment is often a solution
    to the problem. Medical tourism is popular and generally accepted because
    it provides the patients with medical assistance accompanied by five-star
    treatment and exclusive vacations. Thailand and India are among the
    emerging popular spots for medical tourism. The Government of India has
    successfully exerted its leadership to assist in the development of the
    medical tourism industry in the country.

    India is one of the leading players in the medical tourism industry today.
    Cosmetic surgery and dental treatments is usually what the medical tourists
    have been looking for, but recent studies reveal even eye surgery, kidney
    dialysis and organ transplantation are among the most common procedures
    sought by medical vacationers. In particular, India excels in open-heart
    surgery, pediatric heart surgery, bone marrow transplants and cancer
    therapy. Indian hospitals are equipped with the latest electronic and
    medical diagnostic equipment. Indian pharmaceuticals meet the stringent
    requirements of U.S. Food and Drug Administration and even qualify for the
    American standards for quality of care.

    The medical tourism in India has become one of the booming business
    sectors. Marketing ones facilities with informative websites outlining the
    transparent pricing schemes and availability of latest medical
    accoutrements are the trend of the day. As more and more patients from
    affluent nations look for effective options in India, the medical tourism
    industry has been expanding at a fast pace. Developments will of course
    lead to various other economic activities where the main element will
    always remain quality.
    Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God

  2. #2
    Senior Member nittygritty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Pretty soon the only ones to be able to afford our health care cost will be the illegals.
    Build the dam fence post haste!

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